Table of Contents

From the Table of ContentsAcknowledgementsPreface 1. Introduction.- 2. The Physical Environment.- 3. People and the Economy.- 4. Agriculture and Sustainability.- 5. The Wildcard of Climate Change.- 6. A Role for the Plains in Combating Climate Change.- 7. Outlook .- Section containing coloured figures. "Simulation models suggest that the agriculture and water resources of the Plains may be stressed even further as its climate changes because of global warming, which is due primarily to the emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel combustion. This book explores the possibility that the ecology and economy of the Plains region (and similar regions) would benefit from the introduction of perennial biomass crops. Biomass production and processing on the Plains (possibly aided by genetic engineering) would partially restore a perennial vegetative cover and create new employment opportunities. Biomass also offers a means of reducing fossil fuel use, providing fuel to local power plants and a feedstock for production of cellulosic ethanol, a gasoline substitute. Interest in biofuels is growing rapidly in public, political and business circles with rising fossil fuel prices and because of a growing recognition of the need for energy independence in petroleum importing countries."--Jacket.