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How the ecological risks of extended bioenergy production can be reduced
Date:4/23/2012

This press release is available in German.

Jena/Leipzig. For years experts have discussed the ecological impact of the extended cultivation of energy crops. Scientists have now developed a computer model that allows assessing the impacts and comparing the effectiveness of strategies for the reduction of risks for biological diversity. Conclusion: The extension of bioenergy leads to problems to biological diversity in agrarian regions. With different accompanying measures, such as the conservation of near-nature areas, however, these effects could be partly reduced, as scientists of the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) write in the current issue of the professional journal Global Change Biology Bioenergy.

Of particular importance in this context is fallow land. At the latest since the abolition of the EU-wide set-aside premium in 2009 due to the overall rising demand for agricultural products, fallow land is strongly declining and re-used for intensive agricultural production. Ecologically speaking it would be more meaningful, however, if at least part of the land would be kept off from agricultural use also in future and preserved as fallow land and field margins. "These areas have not only a high value for nature conservation and climate protection. They can also help to buffer unintended side-effects of the extension of bioenergy and thus to prevent external costs. Our model analyses therefore yield not only ecological, but also new economic arguments for the preservation of fallow land and field margins that ought to be taken into consideration in the current debate on the concept for a green economy and the new regulation of EU agricultural policy", emphasises Professor Karin Frank from the Department of Ecological Modelling of the UFZ. "The proposal of the EU to keep seven p
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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