We present a system dynamics global LUC model intended to examine LUC attributed to biofuel production. The model has major global land system stocks and flows and can be exercised under different food and biofuel demand assumptions. This model provides insights into the drivers and dynamic interactions of LUC, population, dietary choices, and biofuel policy rather than a precise number generator.
To provide easier access to geospatial satellite products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) today announced the launch of CropScape, a new cropland exploring service. CropScape provides data users access to a variety of new resources and information, including the 2010 cropland data layer (CDL) just released in conjunction withCropScape.
This new service offers advanced tools such as interactive visualization, web-based data dissemination and geospatial queries and automated data delivery to systems such as Google Earth.
“CropScape delivers data visualization tools directly into the hands of the agricultural community without the need for specialized expertise, GIS software or high-end computers,” said Mark Harris, NASS Research and Development Division director. “This information can be used for addressing issues related to agricultural sustainability, land cover monitoring, biodiversity and extreme events such as flooding, drought and hail storm assessment.”
NASS produced the 2010 CDL using satellite image observations at 30-meter (0.22 acres per pixel) resolution and collected from the Resourcesat-1 Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) and Landsat Thematic Mapper. The collection of images was categorized using on-the-ground farm information including field location, crop type, elevation, tree canopy and urban infrastructure. All prior CDL products dating back to 1997 are also hosted by CropScape.
Bioenergy in a Changing Climate: Key Findings of the IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources (SRREN) and Climate Change Mitigation
Provides a summary of the key findings of the IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources (SRREN) and Climate Change Mitigation.
The IPCC SRREN report addresses information needs of policymakers, the private sector and civil society on the potential of renewable energy sources for the mitigation of climate change, providing a comprehensive assessment of renewable energy technologies and related policy and financial instruments. The IPCC report was a multinational collaboration and synthesis of peer reviewed information: Reviewed, analyzed, coordinated, and integrated current high quality information. The OBP International Sustainability activities contributed to the Bioenergy chapter, technology cost annex as well as lifecycle assessments and sustainability information.
The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 established specific targets for the production of biofuel in the United States. Until advanced technologies become commercially viable, meeting these targets will increase demand for traditional agricultural commodities used to produce ethanol, resulting in land-use, production, and price changes throughout the farm sector. This report summarizes the estimated effects of meeting the EISA targets for 2015 on regional agricultural production and the environment. Meeting EISA targets for ethanol production is estimated to expand U.S. cropped acreage by nearly 5 million acres by 2015, an increase of 1.6 percent over what would otherwise be expected. Much of the growth comes from corn acreage, which increases by 3.5 percent over baseline projections. Water quality and soil carbon will also be affected, in some cases by greater percentages than suggested by changes in the amount of cropped land. The economic and environmental implications of displacing a portion of corn ethanol production with ethanol produced from crop residues are also estimated.
Spatial Equilibrium in the Bio-Fuel Economy: A Multi-Market Analysis of Trade Distortions in the U.S. and Brazilian Ethanol Sector
Energy security and environmental concerns about global climate change have lead to recent growth in the use of bio-fuels in the U.S. Brazil currently exports a substantial share of its sugarcane based ethanol to the U.S. to support the growing demand for bio-fuels. However, U.S. policies that exogenously affect the bio-fuel sector confound the understanding of the multi-market impacts of a growing bio-fuel demand. Moreover, the various forms of government intervention in the bio-fuel economy leave researchers with unclear conclusions about the prospects for bio-fuels. The indirect effects on related agricultural markets from increased bio-fuels consumption and the subsequent land use changes driven by expanded feedstock production also require more attention. To improve the understanding of these issues, we examine the market implications in the international ethanol sector by analyzing the equilibrium effects of bio-fuels policies. Additionally, we investigate land use change implications of an expanding Brazilian ethanol sector. In particular, the potential for livestock intensification of Brazilian pasture land grazing systems is considered as a prospective pathway for releasing new land for expanding sugarcane cultivation. We consider the related trade-offs in the Brazilian agricultural sector and their implications for trade with the U.S.
The purpose of this research was to determine whether indirect land use occurs and if so to what extent. Indirect land use is a change from non-cropland to cropland (e.g. deforestation) that may occur in response to increasing scarcity of cropland. As farmers worldwide respond to higher crop prices in order to maintain the global food supply and demand balance, pristine lands are cleared and converted to new cropland to replace the crops for feed and food that were diverted elsewhere to biofuels production. We examine the impact of corn-based ethanol production in the United States on land use in other countries.
Land Use Change and Consequent CO2 Emissions due to U.S. Corn Ethanol Production: A Comprehensive Analysis
The basic objective of this research was to estimate land use changes associated with US corn ethanol production up to the 15 billion gallon Renewable Fuel Standard level implied by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. We also used the estimated land use changes to calculate Greenhouse Gas Emissions associated with the corn ethanol production.
One of the major objectives of the current expansion in bioenergy cropping is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions for environmental benefit. The cultivation of bioenergy and biofuel crops also affects biodiversity more directly, both positively and negatively. Ecological impact assessment methods for bioenergy projects (including changes to policy and land use) should address not simply changes to species abundance at field level, but include larger scale issues, including changes to landscape diversity, potential impacts to primary and secondary habitats and potential impacts on climate change. Such assessments require a correspondingly broad range of scientific methods, including modelling of climate and land use as well as the observation of biodiversity and landscape indicators. It is also possible to adopt evidence-based guidelines for good practice for situations where comprehensive assessments are not available. These might include favouring projects and policies that avoid gene flow to wild relatives of crops in centres of diversity, that do not result in invasion by the crop into other habitats, that enhance field-scale biodiversity, that increase landscape diversity, that do not threaten valued habitats within the local landscape, that promote the sustainable management of biodiverse habitats, that do not increase the risk of loss of primary habitats and that result in a proportionately large reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Governments worldwide are promoting the development of biofuels in order to mitigate the climate impact of using fuels. In this article, I discuss the impacts of biofuels on climate change, water use, and land use. I discuss the overall metric by which these impacts have been measured and then present and discuss estimates of the impacts. In spite of the complexities of the environmental and technological systems that affect climate change, land use, and water use, and the difficulties of constructing useful metrics, it is possible to make some qualitative overall assessments. It is likely that biofuels produced from crops using conventional agricultural practices will not mitigate the impacts of climate change and will exacerbate stresses on water supplies, water quality, and land use, compared with petroleum fuels. Policies should promote the development of sustainable biofuel programs that have very low inputs of fossil fuels and chemicals that rely on rainfall or abundant groundwater, and that use land with little or no economic or ecological value in alternative uses.