Modeling Site Suitability for Biofuels Production in Western North Carolina - Mars Hill College
The production of biofuel crops may influence land use choices in western North Carolina (WNC). In particular, these crops could provide additional income for struggling farmers. Researchers at Mars Hill College will develop a spatially explicit (GIS) model of site suitability for biofuels production for a 10-county region including Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Transylvania, and Yancey Counties in North Carolina. The model will use mapping data, such as data for soils and road networks, to analyze the economics of production and alternative land uses for locations in the study area. The results of this project will provide information to agencies, organizations, and citizens of WNC about the potential for biofuels production. The project will produce maps showing locations with greatest potential profitability of production. Moreover, it will assess how biofuels production can assist in regional efforts in farmland and biodiversity conservation.
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