By Atlanta Business Chronicle

The University of Georgia researchers won an $880,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agricultureâ¿¿s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to experiment with pine tree plantations for potential use in biofuel production.

Professors from the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources plan to experiment with different ways of planting pines to get the greatest biofuel production, UGA said.

Daniel Markewitz, an associate professor, is working with professors Michael Kane and Robert Teskey and assistant research scientist Dehai Zhao. Markewitz said the team plans to focus on the environmental balance required for such production: Not only on how to simultaneously grow timber and biofuels without degrading soil and water quality, but also to discover what happens to the carbon contained in the soil when the trees are harvested.

The five-year project will not examine the economics of using trees for biofuels, but will instead focus on quality growth methods and environmental impacts. The project will span multiple locations across the Southeast, including central and south Georgia, north Florida and the coast of South Carolina.

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