Environmental effects of bioenergy

Bioenergy and agriculture -- promises and challenges

Bioenergy crop systems can-if properly designed-yield significant benefits, both environmental and social. The right choice of biomass crops and production methods can lead to favorable carbon and energy balances and a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. But bioenergy production systems also need to be adapted to local conditions to avoid generating environmental problems. As a guiding principle, bioenergy crop systems can potentially provide benefits if implemented on land that is currently under annual row crops or is undergoing uncontrolled degradation. In either case, providing social benefits will require engaging local communities and understanding the current uses of the land, such as food production, livestock grazing, and fuelwood gathering. Bioenergy crop production can be a suitable alternative if designed in a participatory manner with those whose livelihoods will be affected.

Kartha, Sivan
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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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