Navigation Links
A win-win-win solution for biofuel, climate, and biodiversity
Date:6/25/2014

Fossil fuel emissions release billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, which is changing the climate and threatening the sustainability of life on planet Earth. In Brazil, the demand for alternative energy sources has led to an increase in biofuel crops. A new "News and Views" paper in Nature Climate Change, co-authored by Woods Hole Research Center scientists Marcia Macedo and Eric Davidson, reviews new research conducted by Brazilian colleagues demonstrating the high carbon costs of converting intact Brazilian savanna compared to the carbon gains obtained from converting underutilized pastureland for biofuel crops.

Compared to corn, soy and palm oil, the rapid growth rate of sugar cane has put it at the forefront of biofuel crops. Brazil's national commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, along with rising gasoline prices, has led to the world's largest fleet of flex-fuel vehicles, fueled by the over 36 million tonnes of sugar cane currently grown in the country. This number is expected to climb with new technologies and greater global demand. The challenge for Brazil lies in identifying optimal lands for expanding sugarcane while still meeting demands for food crops and conserving native forests and savannas.

The Cerrado, Brazil's 2 million km2 savanna region, is the most biologically rich savanna on Earth. Unlike the Amazon, which remains over 80% forested, over half of the Cerrado has been cleared for agriculture, including sugar cane biofuel crops. As Drs. Macedo and Davidson note, the new research shows that it would take 17 years of sugar cane production to make up for the carbon losses caused by clearing the Cerrado. In contrast, converting already cleared pastures to sugar cane production provides a nearly immediate carbon payback when ethanol is burned in lieu of gas and oil.

With over 2.5 million square kilometers of existing cleared lands in Brazil, much of which is degraded pasture lands, there is already a large potential area for biofuel crop expansion. For Dr. Macedo, "Because Brazil has a large supply of under-used, low productivity pastures that are suitable for sugar cane, there is no reason to clear additional native Cerrado for sugar cane production."

Dr. Davidson adds "A study commissioned by the World Bank shows that there is likely room for an all-of-the-above future land-use strategy, which includes using degraded pastures for a combination of reforestation, expansion of biofuel and food crops, and intensification of cattle production." In agreement with their Brazilian colleagues, Macedo and Davidson conclude that Brazil can meet today's demands for food, fiber, feed and fuel with no further biodiversity loss, minimal carbon costs, and even a carbon gain, which would help slow climate change.


'/>"/>

Contact: Eunice Youmans
eyoumans@whrc.org
508-444-1509
Woods Hole Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Major meeting to propose large-scale solutions to landscape challenges in Africa
2. Horizontal levitation: The ultimate solution to particle separation
3. American Heart Association conference highlights solutions for reducing sodium intake
4. A new molecule for high-resolution cell imaging
5. Neutron beams reveal how antibodies cluster in solution
6. Spiders spin possible solution to sticky problems
7. GW researcher looks inside the box for a sustainable solution for intestinal parasites
8. Capturing carbon to produce more oil: Climate solution or folly?
9. Innovative solutions for lab-automation developed by Bioprocess Engineers from Dresden
10. Global problem of fisheries bycatch needs global solutions
11. Leto Solutions honored as 1 of top 10 best companies at 2014 Texas Life Science Forum
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/31/2016)... 2016   LegacyXChange, ... "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to release its ... to be launched online site for trading 100% guaranteed ... will also provide potential shareholders a sense of the ... an industry that is notorious for fraud. The video ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by Type ... Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home ... Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion by ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... ABI Research, the leader in transformative ... market will reach more than $30 billion by ... Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, continue to boost the ... reach two billion shipments by 2021 at a ... Research Analyst at ABI Research. "Surveillance is also ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... During a ... technology into a viable company, CereScan’s CEO, John Kelley, joined other Denver business ... leader and mentor in the Denver area business community, shared his top fundamental ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 The ... and Brayton Cryocoolers), Service (Technical Support, Product Repairs & ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 7.29% between ... data Tables and 94 Figures spread through 159 Pages ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... As part of an ongoing ... and expanding its LATAM network and logistics capabilities. Enhancements have been made ... clinical trial projects. , The expansion will provide unmatched clinical trial logistics services ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... The Pittcon Organizing Committee is pleased to announce ... a volunteer member of Committee since 1987. Since then, he has served in a ... and was chairman for both the program and exposition committees. In his professional career, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: