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A Review Of Modeled Water Use Efficiency Of Highly Productive Perennial Grasses Useful For Bioenergy

James R. Kiniry, Sumin Kim

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Whole plant productivity is obviously the ultimate product of leaf photosynthesis and this has led to numerous efforts to relate the two. However, often with perennial grasses, plant productivity is more sink-limited than source-limited, causing the linkage between the photosynthetic rate and productivity to be weak or nonexistent. This has led to a different approach, characterizing plant productivity in terms of the efficiency of intercepted light use in producing biomass, also called radiation use efficiency. Likewise, the efficiency of the use of water to produce plant biomass, or water use efficiency, has been the object of much interest. The use of a simulation model to quantify biomass, using radiation use efficiency in parallel with a daily water balance simulation, allows for the effective calculation of water use efficiency. In this project, the process of determining radiation use efficiency with field data is described, as well as example values for highly productive perennial grasses useful for feedstock for bioenergy. In addition, values of water use efficiency for these grasses are reported and compared with other perennial grasses and common cultivated crops.