Hydrological consequences of cultivating Jatropha crop in degradable waste lands of India and ecosystem trade-offs at watershed scale

Wani, S P and Garg, K K and Patil, M D (2013) Hydrological consequences of cultivating Jatropha crop in degradable waste lands of India and ecosystem trade-offs at watershed scale. Technical Report. European Commission, Luxembourg.

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Biofuel production from feedstocks grown on wastelands is considered as a means to address concerns about climate change and improve energy security while at the same time provide an additional source of income for improving livelihood. The establishment of biomass plantations on wastelands is likely to affect local livelihoods and surrounding ecosystems by influencing hydrologic flows and processes such as erosion. We analyzed the technical feasibility for cultivating Jatropha on degraded waste lands in India using a water balance approach. More specifically, an assessment was made for a wasteland located in the Velchal watershed, Andhra Pradesh, India, which recently was converted to a biofuel plantation with Jatropha. The previous land-use, in this case grazing, could continue in the Jatropha plantations. Several desirable effects occurred as a result of the land-use conversion: non-productive soil evaporation was reduced as a larger share of the precipitation was channeled to productive plant transpiration and groundwater recharge, and at the same time a more stable (less erosive) runoff resulted in reduced soil erosion and improved downstream water conditions. A win-win situation between improved land productivity and soil carbon content was observed for the Jatropha plantations. Results did not show a negative impact on the blue water generation after introducing Jatropha on waste lands. Using parameterized and validated hydrological model “Soil and Water Assessment Tool” we assumed the impact of Jatropha cultivation on 13.4 million ha of wastelands (15% of the total wasteland area) in seven states of India. The analysis shows that 22 million tons of Jatropha seed could be produced from Jatropha cultivable waste lands in India. In addition, Jatropha plantations on waste lands would not create negative impact on downstream water availability and ecosystem services.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Subjects: Others > Watershed Management
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2014 10:14
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2014 10:27
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/7308
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