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Biofuel-Induced Global Land Use Change - Some Strategies for Managing the Risk

Land-use change (LUC) is a contentious policy issue because of its uncertain, yet potentially substantial, impact on bioenergy climate change benefits. Currently, the share of global GHG emissions from biofuels-induced LUC is small compared to that from LUC associated with food and feed production and other human-induced causes. However, increasing demand for biofuels derived from feedstocks grown on agricultural land could increase this contribution. No consensus has emerged on how to appropriately isolate and quantify LUC impacts of bioenergy from those of other LUC drivers. We reviewed the literature and illustrate some strategies to minimize bioenergy-related LUC, including ways to increase land’s total productivity and the design and implementation of effective land use policies. The best strategies to reduce LUC risk will vary geographically, requiring a balancing of the advantages and limitations of potential options within the local context together with other goals (social, environmental, economic, energy security, and diversification).