Influence of Bioenergy Crop Production and Climate Change on Ecosystem Services

Raj Cibin, Indrajeet Chaubey, Rebecca L. Muenich, Keith A. Cherkauer, Philip W. Gassman, Catherine L. Kling, Yiannis Panagopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Land use change can significantly affect the provision of ecosystem services and the effects could be exacerbated by projected climate change. We quantify ecosystem services of bioenergy-based land use change and estimate the potential changes of ecosystem services due to climate change projections. We considered 17 bioenergy-based scenarios with Miscanthus, switchgrass, and corn stover as candidate bioenergy feedstock. Soil and Water Assessment Tool simulations of biomass/grain yield, hydrology, and water quality were used to quantify ecosystem services freshwater provision (FWPI), food (FPI) and fuel provision, erosion regulation (ERI), and flood regulation (FRI). Nine climate projections from Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase-3 were used to quantify the potential climate change variability. Overall, ecosystem services of heavily row cropped Wildcat Creek watershed were lower than St. Joseph River watershed which had more forested and perennial pasture lands. The provision of ecosystem services for both study watersheds were improved with bioenergy production scenarios. Miscanthus in marginal lands of Wildcat Creek (9% of total area) increased FWPI by 27% and ERI by 14% and decreased FPI by 12% from the baseline. For St. Joseph watershed, Miscanthus in marginal lands (18% of total area) improved FWPI by 87% and ERI by 23% while decreasing FPI by 46%. The relative impacts of land use change were considerably larger than climate change impacts in this paper. Editor's note: This paper is part of the featured series on SWAT Applications for Emerging Hydrologic and Water Quality Challenges. See the February 2017 issue for the introduction and background to the series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1323-1335
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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