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BESTers, thought you should see this thoughtful message from a colleague.
She is recommending that UF should take a look at biofuels from an
ecosystems viewpoint in addition the the economic, agronomic, and
engineering viewpoints already getting attention. 
 

Dr. Stephen R. Humphrey, Director of Academic Programs, 
School of Natural Resources and Environment, 
Box 116455, 103 Black Hall, University of Florida 
Gainesville, FL  32611-6455  USA 
Tel. 352-392-9230, Fax 352-392-9748 
 <http://snre.ufl.edu/> http://snre.ufl.edu 

  _____  

From: Swain, Hilary [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 1:30 PM
To: [log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask]
Cc: [log in to unmask]; Bohlen, Patrick; Lollis, L. Gene
Subject: Farm fuel summit

 <http://www.florida-agriculture.com/farmtofuel_summit.htm>
http://www.florida-agriculture.com/farmtofuel_summit.htm 

Strongly suggest you put this on your radar screen. 

While I am an enthusiastic proponent of biofuels (although not corn since it
seems so inefficient), and I am really  interested in finding ranchers and
foresters economically (and ecologically) sustainable ways  of staying  on
their land,  there are some potential pitfalls here. 

This would be a great opportunity to make sure that one could be
enthusiastic about Florida biofuels as long as 
1. They are not planning on species that could be invasive (some have been
planning just this e.g. Arundo donax).  This should be a very important
principle in Florida . Now is the time to get this concern embedded in the
mindset. 

2.  It  does not precipitate intensification of huge acreages of rangeland
and unimproved or semi-native pasture to crop production - huge loss for
Florida's native biodiversity.  I doubt  if this is going to be considered
for abandoned citrus areas on sandy soils although may be a use for
abandoned Flatwoods citrus off ridges. 

3. It doesn't require higher nutrient inputs to maintain productivity that
would exacerbate existing huge nutrient challenges.

4. We need to think carefully about any implications for fire management and
harvesting versus reduced use of  fire for ecosystem maintenance. 

5. I haven't really thought through the implications for ecosystem benefits
of existing silvicultural operations but assume Janaki has been giving this
some thought. 

Hilary Swain, Ph.D. 
Executive Director 
Archbold Biological Station 
PO Box 2057 
Lake Placid, FL 33862 
telephone: 863-465-2571 
fax: 863-699-1927 
email: [log in to unmask] 
web site:  <file://www.archbold-station.org> www.archbold-station.org 

My assistant is Cheryl Henderson - [log in to unmask]