When we think about sustainable bioenergy feedstocks in the United States, we ask ourselves what we will grow, where we will grow it, and how much we will grow. We also must consider the local as well as the broad-scale implications. From the perspective of landscape ecology, we tend to look at the broader scales. It is one of the big challenges of bioenergy, not just looking at what happens to the local farmer but thinking about broader implications. From a global perspective, we also need to ask the same questinos, how much, what type and where? We also need to understand what drives land-use change to determine how we can address causes of land-use change equitably in order to foster social benefits as well as economic and environmental benefits across the board. A number of reports on the topic of sustainable bioenergy are currently being published, which reflects the increasing number of groups that are working on this issue of land-use change and equity. This topic is an international issue and presents an opportunity for international cooperation.
The U.S. Department of Energy Biomass Program sponsored the Land-Use Change and Bioenergy workshop in Vonore, Tennessee, from May 11 to May 14, 2009. More than 50 experts from around the world gathered to review the state of the science, identify opportunities for collaboration, and prioritize next steps for the research and data needed to address key issues regarding the land-use effects of bioenergy policies. A key outcome of the workshop was the
identification of research areas that may improve our understanding of land-use change in a bioenergy context.