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Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

Whole Farm Dairy and Beef Systems: Gaseous Emissions, Pmanagement, Organic Production, and Pasture Based Production

Livestock farms face a number of environmental concerns including both water and air quality issues. Stakeholders and regulators agree that attaining the dual goals of profitability and environmental accountability are major challenges facing animal agriculture. Under current economic conditions with increasing input costs and stagnant or decreasing product prices, many farms are struggling to survive. The additional costs of mitigating environmental impacts may accelerate farm exit.

Protecting water security in watershed systems: uncertainty in decision making

Providing steady supplies of water, safe drinking water, and sustaining diverse, healthy aquatic ecosystems are objectives of watershed managers. Disruptions in water supplies and quality can have serious economic and ecological impacts. Addressing water security is becoming an important aspect of watershed management that can increase the sustainability and resiliency of watershed systems. Therefore the question arises: How can water managers plan for and maintain secure water supplies under uncertain conditions?

Quantifying Growth and Establishment of Trees Planted in Residential Settings

The value of trees planted in residential settings has been well documented (Shroeder et al. 2006; McPherson et al. 2007), but value is only realized if trees grow to maturity. The same settings where trees provide benefits, however, present challenging and even severe growing conditions that may thwart survival and growth (Jutras et al. 2010). Empirical data to describe the survival and growth of such trees are limited, and most of the work has considered trees growing in field plots rather than actual residential settings (Watson et al. 1986; Morgenroth 2011).

Red Spruce-Balsam Fir forests in Massachusetts: forest dynamics in natural communities vulnerable to climate change

It has been hypothesized that climate change will cause plant species ranges to shift northward with plants at the south end of ranges declining in vigor and growth rate. The purpose of this research is to test this hypothesis for red spruce and balsam fir along the southern end of the continuous distribution of these species, in Massachusetts. By measuring the growth patterns of these trees, we can determine if the southern end of the range has been declining, relative to more northern stands of these species.

Soil-Based Use of Residuals, Wastewater and Reclaimed Water

With the rapid development and wide application of nanotechnology, the introduction of manufactured nanomaterials into both solid and liquid wastes (and to the environment) is inevitable through production, use, and disposal. It has been reported in 2008 that nano-TiO2 is leached out of house facades into receiving surface waters. Currently, there are over 800 products on the market containing nanomaterials such as lotions, sunscreens, paints, and socks. This research will determine the environmental behavior and process of several types of manufactured nanomaterials.

Surveying the Energy Crop Model Brachypodium Distachyon for Improved Thermo-Chemical and Biological Conversion Efficiency

Increased use of biomass fuels is a promising option for renewable fuels that could decrease our dependence on oil and reduce greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, we currently do not have clear knowledge about the plant traits that should be considered bioenergy traits and should be subjected to breeding and selection. We propose to use a grass energy model organism (Brachypodium distachyon), and treatment with two promising plant biomass transformation techniques (biological and thermochemical conversion) to examine the effect of natural diversity on biofuel production efficiency.

Trace Elements Affect Methanogenic Activity and Diversity in Enrichments From Subsurface Coal Beds

Global climate change and nitrogen deposition are processes that will only increase as industrialization continues. The purpose of this study is to understand the response of the microbially driven soil nitrogen cycle to the combined effects of temperature increase and nitrogen amendments in forest soils of New England. Terrestrial cycling of nutrients is of particular importance due to the effects nutrient cycling can have on plant growth and climate change.

Understanding and Assessing the Functions of Open Space in the Changing New England Landscape

Rural landscapes around the world face intense development pressures from nearby urban areas. In the United States, rampant, low-density development at the urban fringe consumed approximately 800,000 ha of land in the last decade (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service 2004). New subdivision developments and new towns are blanketing the landscape, often with little or inadequate provision for green infrastructure. This is certainly the case in New England, one of the nation's most densely populated regions. For example, every day 16 ha.

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