Switchgrass: Bridging Bioenergy And Conservation

An important part of the answer to the country's energy woes could be blowing in the prairie wind, according to one plant geneticist. He has spent the past 10 years breeding switchgrass, an eight-foot-plus native plant that was an integral part of the tall grass prairies that once dominated America's Midwest. As a breeder, he is mostly concerned with the plant's bioenergy-friendly attributes, including its ability to accumulate large amounts of biomass and tolerate environmental stress. Recently, he began looking at switchgrass from another standpoint --- as a restorer of once-pristine prairies.