June 24 - Keith Kline gave a presentation titled "Thirty years later: Reflections on the past and future of biomass utilization" for ASTM International Committee E48 on Bioenergy and Industrial Chemicals from Biomass. Committee leadership requested this topic to commemorate that 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of Committee E48. The talk also introduced concepts to be considered in subsequent work sessions on a new “Standard Practice” to support more consistent and comparable approaches for sustainability assessment.

June 15-17:   Virginia Dale gave a talk on “Approach for sustainability assessment of southeast pellet production.” at the Forestry Technical Session at the 2015 Southern Regional Meeting of the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI)  in Greenville, SC

May 17-21: Natalie Griffiths gave a talk on “Effects of short-rotation pine management for bioenergy on water quality in the southeastern United States” at the Society for Freshwater Science conference in Milwaukee.

April 17:  Yetta Jager gave a presentation to the National Science Foundation Scholars, "Preparation of Data Driven Mathematical Scientists for the Workforce" at the East Tennessee State University titled “Biomass, Birds, and Better Water:  Virtual tools illuminate pathways toward a sustainable bioeconomy”

March 2-5, 2015 - Natalie Griffiths gave an overview talk on the short-rotation woody biomass sustainability project at the Interagency Conference for Research in the Watersheds meeting in Charleston, SC.

January 29, 2015- Keith Kline presented a talk titled Bioenergy sustainability criteria and oil palm while participating in meetings for NSF PIRE Project in Tabasco, Mexico.

January 26, 2015 – Keith Kline participated in meetings for NSF PIRE Project, “Sustainability, Ecosystem Services, and Bioenergy Development across the Americas” to share experience with sustainability indicators among interdisciplinary teams in Tabasco, Mexico.  Dr. Kline also presented a talk titled Bioenergy sustainability criteria and oil palm

Dec 2, 2014 – Keith Kline gave an invited presentation on “Integrating pellet production into sustainable landscape design for the Southeastern USA” for a workshop involving BE-Basic and other European stakeholders and utility representatives.  

Dec 1, 2014 – Keith Kline presented an invited seminar titled, “Biomass for bioenergy: an overview of research at ORNL” for the Copernicus Institute and BE-Basic Sustainable Bio-Economy team at Utrecht University, Netherlands.

November 17, 2014 – Yetta Jager presented “Designing Landscapes for Wildlife” to the BETO Hydrology/Water Quality Modeling Group webinar.

November 2-5, 2014 - Esther Parish spoke on the topic of “Designing Bioenergy Systems for Multiple Environmental Services and Socioeconomic Benefits” during a bioenergy symposium that was part of the American Society of Agronomy International annual meeting in Long Beach, Calif.

October 19-23 – Keith Kline and Maggie Davis presented “Incorporating bioenergy into sustainable landscape design,” and “Brazil’s strategic role in future biofuels – a joint assessment” respectively; and coauthored “Food Security and Biofuels: Can Policy Flexibility Mitigate Food Price Crises for the Poor?” at the 2nd Brazilian Bioenergy Science and Technology Conference in Campos do Jordão

October 9-17, 2014– Keith presented “Biomass for bioenergy: resources today and in the future,” as invited lecturer in the “São Paulo Advanced School on the Present and Future of Bioenergy” at University of Campinas (

October 5-11 – Virginia Dale spoke on “Opportunities to Design Sustainable Bioenergy Systems” at the International Union of Forest Research Organization World Congress in Salt Lake City, Utah.

October 1-3, 2014 – At the annual meeting of the USDA AFRI CAP project, Southeastern Partnership for the Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS), Esther Parish and Virginia Dale presented “Bioenergy Sustainability: How to Define and Measure It.”

September 19, 2014 - Tim Theiss presented "The Role of Biofuels in the US Sustainable Transportation Challenge"

Dama Abulebdeh poster presentation "Measuring SOC in USA and Brazil: Varying methods and implications"

July 19, 2014 - Laurence Eaton  presented “Enhanced National Feedstock Supply Modeling of Woody Crops for Bioenergy and Bioproducts” at the 10th Biennial Short Rotation Woody Crops Conference in Seattle, WA .

July 17-19, 2014 - Natalie Griffiths attended the Short-Rotation Woody Crop Operations Working Group meeting in Seattle, and gave an overview presentation on their project titled ‘Environmental sustainability of woody biomass production for bioenergy in the southeastern United States’

June 25, 2014 –  Keith Kline presented a summary of the 1st BETO Workshop on Landscape Design held in New Bern, North Carolina, on March 4-6 at the 2nd BETO Workshop on “Incorporating Bioenergy in Sustainable Landscape Designs: Agricultural Landscapes” at Argonne, Illinois.

June 4-7, 2014 – Virginia Dale was invited guest speaker at the 4th Pan-American Congress on Plants and Bioenergy in Guelph, Canada. She spoke on “Opportunities to Design Biofuel Systems for Multiple Environmental Services and Socioeconomic Benefits.”

April 21, 2014 - Keith Kline presented "Multi-Disciplinary Research: Bionenergy, Land Use Change and Food Security." Plus Global Calculator at the Climate Change Science Institute.

April 7, 2014– Virginia Dale and Esther Parish were invited to participate in a Knoxville Climate Resilience Roundtable Discussion chaired by Knoxville Mayor Rogero who is serving as a member of the President’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders’ Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.  The discussion focused on implications of climate change for East Tennessee and how the Federal government can assist local communities in preparing for those impacts

April 3, 2014– Joe Hughes spoke about a chapter he is working on with Dan Hayes and Virginia Dale on “Potential effects of climate change on natural disturbances in the southeastern upland hardwood forest region” at the Symposium on Natural Disturbances and Historic Range of Variation in Central Hardwood Forests at the annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

April 1-4, 2014 – Keith Kline attended the Global Sustainable Bioenergy (GSB) and Latin America, Caribbean and Africa (LACAf) project ( meetings, South Africa, and chaired the session on “Geospatial Analysis in Africa: can land use be optimized?”

February 24-28, 2014 - Keith Kline presented on Biomass, Bioenergy and Land Use for the "Pathways to Climate Solutions: Assessing Energy Technology and Policy Innovation" in Aspen, CO. The primary objectives of the meeting were to review current pace and scale of the climate challenge and identify viable pathways to decarbonize the economy , including technological and policy options.

February 25, 2014 - Virginia Dale gave a presentation on “Incorporating Bioenergy into Sustainable Landscape Designs” at the National Institute for Mathematics and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

February 5-7, 2014 - Keith Kline gave a presentation on "Vital Signs Trade-Offs Workshop: Review of selected research at ORNL" at Oxford, United Kingdom.

November 8th, 2012 - Virginia Dale presented "Environmental and Socioeconomic Indicators for Bioenergy Sustainability as Applied to Short Rotation Woody Crops" at the Short Rotation Woody Crops Operation Working Group Workshop hosted by Mark Downing (ORNL) and Tim Rials (UT).

September 18, 2012 - Rebecca Efroymson presented “Sustainability Indicators for Bioenergy Systems and Applicability to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)” at the 12th International Symposium on Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms in St Louis, MO.  The talk was in a session entitled “Symposium on Biofuel Crop Risk Assessment – Regulatory, Industry, and Academic Perspectives.”  Rebecca participated in a panel discussion, along with the other speakers from USDA, Canadian Forest Service, Ceres, Inc., Virginia Tech University, and University of Florida.

August 5-10, 2012 – Several ORNL staff participated in the 2012 Ecological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

  • A Special Session, "A Debate on the Sustainability of Biomass Production for Energy", focueds on the proposition “Producing bioenergy can be sustainable for habitat availability and biodiversity, and can eschew the risk of new invaders.” This formal debate allowed opening statements by each of six experts, followed by rebuttals, with audience questions entertained during the final 30 minutes.  The audience was polled before and after to determine the winners.  H. Jager was an organizer and R. Efroymson represented the “for” position.
  • Virginia Dale spoke in the Symposium "Bioenergy and Biodiversity: Oxymoron or Opportunity?" on “Environmental and socioeconomic indicators of bioenergy sustainability.”

Fundamental for Life: Soil, Crop and Environmental Sciences
October 16 - 19, 2011 San Antonio Texas
2011 American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America (ASA-CSSA-SSSA) International Annual Meetings in conjunction with the Canadian Society of Soil Science.

Previous Symposia

Biomass Energy Systems: Research Needs to Address Policy Issues October 31 - November 3, 2010 Mark Downing (ORNL) and Michael Casler (Agricultural Research Service [ARS] Research Geneticist, Madison, Wisconsin) organized a symposium, Biomass Energy Systems: Research Needs to Address Policy Issues, at the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America (ASA-ASSA-CSSA) Joint Convention in Long Beach, CA.

Presentations Included: - Are Our Research Needs Driving Policy? or Is Policy Driving Our Research? given by Mark Downing. - Bioenergy Research and Strategic Planning: The Need for Both Proactive and Reactive Research given by Robert Mitchell, USDA-ARS; Kenneth Vogel, USDA-ARS. - The Tyranny of Big Ideas in Environmental Policy given by Alan Lucier, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI). - TNC Perspective given by Jimmie Powell, The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

2010 U.S. International Association of Landscape Ecology (IALE) Twenty-fifth Anniversary Symposium April 6-10, 2010
One symposium, Reshaping Landscapes: Bioenergy and Biodiversity, included a presentation by Laurence Eaton, Peter Schweizer, Rebecca Efroymson, Henriette Jager entitled, Assessing watershed benefits of bioenergy crops: Recreational and subsistence value of fishes,” and another presentation by Peter Schweizer, Henriette Jager, and Latha Baskaran entitled, “Forecasting changes in water quality and aquatic biodiversity in response to future bioenergy landscapes in the Arkansas-White-Red River basin.”

US chapter of the International Association of Landscape Ecology
- Reshaping Landscapes: Bioenergy and Biodiversity
- Reshaping Landscapes: Bioenergy and Land-use Change
- Photos

A second symposium, Reshaping Landscapes: Bioenergy and Land-use Change, included a presentation by Gbadebo Oladosu, and Keith Kline entitled, “Modeling direct and indirect effects of US bioenergy policy on global land use,” and another presentation by Keith Kline, Virginia Dale, and Gbadebo Oladosu entitled, “Models, science, and the precautionary principle: Land-use change and the sustainability of biomass systems.”


P. Schweizer, H. Jager, L. Eaton, R. Efroymson. "Watershed valuation - understanding spatial variation in value derived from fish diversity". Presented at the 2012 Annual Symposium of the US Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, Newport, RI.

Stephen Kaffka and Keith Kline - May 24th, 2011: Vantage Point: Views on Food, Fuel and Land Use

November 29-December 6, 2010: Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) organized a study tour for approximately 30 representatives of the China National Energy Administration and Chinese bioenergy companies. Tour stops included bioenergy related sites in Nebraska, Iowa, and Tennessee and meetings with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C. Yun Wu of ORNL served as an official host and translator throughout the duration of the tour; Erin Webb co-led organization of the study tour; Becky Bowman assisted with coordination of the tour and organized Tennessee events; Robin Graham, Brian Davison, Keith Kline, and Laurence Eaton gave technical presentations highlighting ORNL bioenergy research. Other Tennessee activities for the China delegation included a tour of the DuPont Danisco biorefinery and Genera Energy switchgrass production sites in Vonore.
- ORNL Presentations

Keith Kline - May 24 2011: Bioenergy, Land-Use Change and Food Security

Kaleb Little - May 24 2011: Experts: Bioenergy leading to more efficient and environmentally friendly energy future

Stephen Kaffka - May 24 2011: National Biodiesel Board: Food and Fuel

Lawrence Eaton, et al - December 2010: The economic effects of biofuel feedstock production on gamefish distribution

‘Debo Oladosu, et al – November 2010: Empirical Analysis of the Sources of Corn Used for Ethanol Production in the United States: 2001-2009

Jonathan Overly from the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (DOE Clean Cities) gave an overview of the RFS2 standard and the implications on the use of biofuels in the US on May 14, 2010, at the National Transportation Research Center
- RFS2 – A Bridge to a More Sustainable America



First place in the 2015 ASABE Annual International Meeting Undergraduate Student Poster Competition in New Orleans was taken by EMMA TOBIN. Emma is a student at UT and an intern at the CBES here at ORNL. Picture

Virginia Dale and Keith Kline attended the 9th IALE World Congress in Portland Oregon from July 5th through the 10th. Click Here for More Info

Sustainability Webinar Recording Available The recording of the BETO webinar “Biofuels for the Environment and Communities,” originally broadcast on April 22, 2015, is now available on the BETO Webinar Page.

Workshop Report from the IFPRI Bioenergy and Food Security Interactions conference made public. Click here for full report. For more information on the conference click here.

SURVEY - Share your views on the international biomass trade. Click here for more information and the link to access the survey.

Virginia Dale and Erin Webb welcome two Fellows of the Southeastern Energy Development (SEED) Fellowship starting a ten-week program beginning May 15th. Click here for more information.

The 3rd annual National Bioenergy Day is planned for Wednesday, October 21, 2015. Click here for more information.

Federal suit filed against three counties in Iowa over nutrient runoff from agricultural drainage. Click here for more information.

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