Synthesis manuscript for an Ecology & Society Special Feature on Telecoupling: A New Frontier for Global Sustainability
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With the goal of understanding environmental effects of a growing bioeconomy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), national laboratories, and U.S. Forest Service research laboratories, together with academic and industry collaborators, undertook a study to estimate environmental effects of potential biomass production scenarios in the United States, with an emphasis on agricultural and forest biomass. Potential effects investigated include changes in soil organic carbon (SOC), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water quality and quantity, air emissions, and biodiversity.
This article connects the science of sustainability theory with applied aspects of sustainability deployment. A suite of 35 sustainability indicators spanning 12 environmental and socioeconomic categories has been proposed for comparing the sustainability of bioenergy production systems across different feedstock types and locations.
The Regional Feedstock Partnership (the Partnership) has published a report to summarize its accomplishments from 2008–2014. DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) partnered with the Sun Grant Initiative and Idaho National Laboratory to co-author this report.
The 2016 Billion-Ton Report: Advancing Domestic Resources for a Thriving Bioeconomy is the third in a series of Energy Department national assessments that have calculated the potential supply of biomass in the United States. The report concludes that the United States has the future potential to produce at least one billion dry tons of biomass resources (composed of agricultural, forestry, waste, and algal materials) on an annual basis without adversely affecting the environment.