Link to the website with documentation and download instructions for the PNNL Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), a community model or long-term, global energy, agriculture, land use, and emissions. BioEnergy production, transformation, and use is an integral part of GCAM modeling and scenarios.
Understanding the complex interactions among food security, bioenergy sustainability, and resource management
requires a focus on specific contextual problems and opportunities. The United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable
Development Goals place a high priority on food and energy security; bioenergy plays an important role in
achieving both goals. Effective food security programs begin by clearly defining the problem and asking, ‘What
can be done to assist people at high risk?’ Simplistic global analyses, headlines, and cartoons that blame biofuels
for food insecurity may reflect good intentions but mislead the public and policymakers because they obscure
the main drivers of local food insecurity and ignore opportunities for bioenergy to contribute to solutions.
Applying sustainability guidelines to bioenergy will help achieve near- and long-term goals to eradicate hunger.
Priorities for achieving successful synergies between bioenergy and food security include the following: (1) clarifying
communications with clear and consistent terms, (2) recognizing that food and bioenergy need not compete
for land and, instead, should be integrated to improve resource management, (3) investing in technology,
rural extension, and innovations to build capacity and infrastructure, (4) promoting stable prices that incentivize
local production, (5) adopting flex crops that can provide food along with other products and services to society,
and (6) engaging stakeholders to identify and assess specific opportunities for biofuels to improve food security.
Systematic monitoring and analysis to support adaptive management and continual improvement are essential
elements to build synergies and help society equitably meet growing demands for both food and energy.
Landscape ecology focuses on the spatial patterns and processes of ecological and human interactions. These patterns and processes are being altered by both changing resource-management practices of humans and changing climate conditions associated, in part, with increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Dominant resource-extraction and land-management activities involve energy, and the use of fossil energy is one of the key drivers behind increasing greenhouse gas emissions as well as land-use changes. Alternative energy sources (such as wind, solar, nuclear, and bioenergy) are being explored to reduce greenhouse gas emission rates. Yet, energy production, including alternative-energy options, can have a wide range of effects on land productivity, surface cover, albedo, and other factors that affect carbon, water, and energy fluxes and, in turn, climate. Meanwhile, climate influences the potential output, relative efficiencies, and sustainability of alternative energy sources. Thus, land use, climate change, and energy choices are linked, and any comprehensive analysis in landscape ecology that considers one of these factors should be cognizant of these interactions. This analysis explores the implications of linkages between land use, climate change, and energy and points out ecological patterns and processes that may be affected by their interaction.