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Estimating the Impact of Biomass Harvest on Soil Erosion Using the WEPP Model

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  036078,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15334)
Authors:   Amber Hasche, Tom L. Richard, John M. Laflen
Keywords:   Crop residue, soil erosion, Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP), biomass feedstock harvesting

Biomass in the form of crop residue has the potential to be a new energy source and an alternative to fossil fuels because of its high energy content and availability. In order for crop residue to be a competitive energy source, the sustainability of such a program must be evaluated. The effect of removing crop residue from traditional row crop fields after the harvest of the grain raises concerns over the effects it will have on soil erosion and soil fertility. The Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model was used in this project to estimate the effect that harvesting crop residue could have on soil erosion. The erosion at different crop residue removal rates was compared on different soils and on different slopes. The simulation showed that soil type had a smaller effect on erosion than did slope or biomass removal rate.

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