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Biodiversity and land use The importance of ecosystem services should not be overlooked. Reducing biodiversity can reduce ecosystem services, without which development is impossible, including biofuels development. Biodiversity impacts related to biofuels are determined by the type of land being converted, as well as by the type of feedstock used. The efficiency of crops determines the amount of land required.


When assessing the sustainability of biofuels within the context of conservation, comparison questions are important. What else can the land be used for? One option might be conservation, whereas another


might be for a different production system. Which production system is the most suitable and efficient for the land being used? Here, the land-use and end- use efficiency correlation is an interesting aspect when seeking to determine the overall energy output of a specific biofuel.


This type of data can help


determine which type of biofuels will use land most efficiently, reducing pressure on natural ecosystems.


Land required for biofuels by feedstock Areas needed to produce one tonne of oil equivalent biofuel (in hectares)


Sugarbeet


South East Asia


Sugarcane Sorghum Sweet Maize


Figure 3.1.2, for example, shows the differences in land requirements by fuel type. The graphic compares different liquid biofuels and alternative drive systems such as an electric vehicle running on electricity produced from wind power.


Ethanol


Biodiesel Sorghum Sweet Tanzania Maize


0.27


0.28


0.32


0.32


0.32


0.32


0.32


0.99


Source: AEA: Biofuels Indirect Effects,2008; FAO: The State of Food and Agroenergy, 2008; Biofuels Platform (www.biofuel-platform.ch); R. Abramovay et al.: Biocombustíveis. A energia da controvérsia, Ed. Senac, 2009; R. Hoefnagels et Al: Greenhouse gas footprints of different biofuel production systems, Re Oil Palm


Europe Brazil China USA Europe Jatropha China Figure 3.1.2 Land required for biofuels by feedstock 20


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