Development and application of models for soil-plant-atmosphere interactions to optimize resource capture and management of low-input systems

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Unlisted

Abstract

The overall aim of this project is to develop and apply models for soil-plant-atmosphere interactions to assess productivity and impacts of new cropping systems under climatic variability (global change). These will operate over different scales and complexities. Particular focus will be on finding low input optima for maximising productivity from perennial bioenergy crops whilst minimising costs and environmental impacts. Concepts established for arable crops are being expanded to biomass crops, e.g. rhizomatous grasses. Initially, emphasis is given to quantifying crop responses to water stress and temperature, and to evaluating different crop growth strategies (evasion, enhanced exploration, recycling of reserves).

The objective is to develop process-based models in perennial bioenergy crops (a) to quantify fluxes of energy, water and matter between the crops and their environment and (b) to describe phenotypic and physiological crop response to different environmental and climatic conditions. Specific objectives are (1) to implement models of sink-source regulation, above-belowground interaction, and morphological and plant architectural development, and (2) to use generic tools of model evaluation (sensitivity, uncertainty analysis) in aid to select phenotypic traits and (3) to simulate scenarios to quantify the crop response for different environments.

Publications

10 25 50

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Karp A (2011) Meeting the challenge of food and energy security. in Journal of experimental botany

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Pitre F (2010) Estimating root biomass in Salix viminalis × Salix schwerinii cultivar "Olof" using the electrical capacitance method in Plant Biosystems - An International Journal Dealing with all Aspects of Plant Biology

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Pitre F (2010) Estimating root biomass in Salix viminalis × Salix schwerinii cultivar "Olof" using the electrical capacitance method in Plant Biosystems - An International Journal Dealing with all Aspects of Plant Biology

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Karp A (2014) Plants and BioEnergy

 
Description In breeding for higher biomass yields, it is important that high resource-use efficiency is maintained and that requirements for inputs such as water and nitrogen are not increased. The evaluation of new or existing varieties (phenotypes/genotypes) in different target environments cannot be done exclusively by experimental means. Experimental trials are particularly expensive and time-consuming in perennial crops which may take several years after first establishment to reach optimal yield potential in the field. Models can assist in optimizing the resource use and management and ultimately in reduce the impact on the environment. However, there are currently no process-based models that integrate above- and belowground dynamics with respect to C and N for biomass crops. Quantitative, process-based models will help to extend the spatial and temporal testing of genotypes (G) via scenario simulation (in silico) under different environments (E) and management (M). This will enable us to develop and test hypotheses and hopefully accelerate evaluating the G x E x M interaction to select/design crops with optimal resource utilization/capture.
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy,Environment
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services