Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is Biofuel Policy Harming European Biodiversity?

Date:
April 25, 2009
Source:
European Forest Institute
Summary:
The EU promotes the production of biofuels and has set a target of 5.75% share of biofuels in the transport section for all EU Member States by 2010, and a target of 10% to be reached by 2020. Researchers have developed a new method of assessing biodiversity impacts resulting from changing land use due to the production of biofuel crops in Europe, distinguishing between arable (first generation) and woody (second-generation) crop types. The results indicate that more species might suffer from habitat losses rather than benefit from a doubled biofuel target, while abolishing the biofuel target would mainly have positive effects.

Current estimates state that transport is responsible for about 25% of the energy-related greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. While biofuels are seen as a possible means to reduce these emissions, they are under heavy discussion in terms of economic cost benefits and their environmental and social impacts.

The EU promotes the production of biofuels and has set a target of 5.75% share of biofuels in the transport section for all EU Member States by 2010, and a target of 10% to be reached by 2020. Currently, the biofuel crops consist mainly of commonly known arable crops, such as cereals, maize or rape seed. Increasing the share of these crops could lead to the expansion of cultivated areas, and in turn, to an increasing pressure on the environment, habitat loss and biodiversity decrease, especially if forest, grassland, peatland and wetlands are converted into monoculture plantations for biofuels crops.

The so-called second generation biofuel crops, produced from nonfood, ligno-cellulosic materials such as wood, energy grass or any other cellulosic biomass, which are being developed, offer an alternative. The effects of their production on biodiversity are estimated to be less drastic than that of regular arable crops.

A recent paper by Eggers et al. presents a new method of assessing biodiversity impacts resulting from changing land use due to the production of biofuel crops in Europe, distinguishing between arable (first generation) and woody (second-generation) crop types. In particular, Eggers et al. focus on two questions: (1) what might happen if we doubled the current EU biofuel target of 5.75%, and (2) what might happen if we abolished the current biofuel target. While biodiversity as such includes all forms of life, their impact assessment was restricted to a set of 313 species pertaining to four taxonomical groups.

The results indicate that more species might suffer from habitat losses rather than benefit from a doubled biofuel target, while abolishing the biofuel target would mainly have positive effects. However, the possible impacts vary spatially and depend on the choice of biofuel crop, with woody crops being less detrimental than arable crops. The results give an indication for policy and decision makers of what might happen to biodiversity under a changed biofuel policy in the European Union. The presented approach is considered to be innovative as to date no comparable policy impact assessment has been applied to such a large set of key species at the European scale.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Forest Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jeannette Eggers, Katja Trφltzsch, Alessandra Falcucci, Luigi Maiorano, Peter H. Verburg, Erik Framstad, Gerald Louette, Dirk Maes, Szabolcs Nagy, Wim Ozinga and Ben Delbaere. Is biofuel policy harming biodiversity in Europe? GCB Bioenergy, 1, 2009, pp. 18-34 DOI: 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2009.01002.x

Cite This Page:

European Forest Institute. "Is Biofuel Policy Harming European Biodiversity?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090424073907.htm>.
European Forest Institute. (2009, April 25). Is Biofuel Policy Harming European Biodiversity?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090424073907.htm
European Forest Institute. "Is Biofuel Policy Harming European Biodiversity?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090424073907.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: Ebola's Economic Impact Could Eclipse SARS

Breakingviews: Ebola's Economic Impact Could Eclipse SARS

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 18, 2014) — The virus ravaging Africa has yet to spread elsewhere. Yet Asia’s SARS crisis in 2003 showed how changes to behaviour can hurt the economy more than the actual disease, says Breakingviews' Una Galani. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins