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Potential risks of energy crop expansion on land access Increasing privatization

Loss of culture-related land tenure for local and indigenous people

Enclosure of public land

Limited access to other natural resources


Increased demand for biofuels

Expansion of biofuels crops


Increased demand for land

economic value of crop and land

Displacement of food and other crops

interventions Green Higher

Sustainable initiatives

Civil society actions

Policy frameworks (national and international)

Safeguard for local rights

Sustainable land management

Raised awareness on risks and opportunities

Fair and equitable compensation

Business as usual

Change in land tenure

(land sale, long lease)

Change in land use and activity (turning forests into crop land or using land to grow energy rather than food-crops)

Poorer land users being priced out of land markets

New crop patterns displace other land-use activities

Automated energy-crop production displaces land workers

Expulsion of farmers

Displacement of local and indigenous communities

Land tenure Poor land tenure security due to lack of appropriate rules and processes, and biofuels production encroaching on land used by pastoralists or for cultural purposes affect local livelihoods and access to land, particularly for poor rural people in developing countries. Figure 3.1.11 indicates various measures which should be taken to mitigate this risk.

Pragmatic approaches to reduce land use The negative consequences of iLUC have been hotly debated. Recent debate has focused increasingly on a pragmatic approach to reducing the need for land, thereby reducing risks from direct and indirect changes in land use. These approaches include:

• Using degraded and/or underused land where the risks of increased GHGs and the loss of biodiversity would be substantially lower. However, the process for identifying such land areas needs to be thorough, addressing soil recovery issues and scope for higher levels of agrochemical and water input to increase yields.

• Using waste and residues, which requires a solid definition of waste and an assessment of competing uses, such as using organic residues to rebuild soil fertility.

Note: the diagram shows a generalized process for land access impacts. Effects might only occurr in some regions and for some crops.

Source: Thomas Molony, T. and Smith J., Biofuels, Food Security and Africa, African Affairs, 2010; Cutula, et al., Fuelling exclusion? The biofuels boom and poor people’s access to land, FAO, IIED, 2008; FAO, Bioenergy and Food Security. The BEFS Analitical Framework, 2010.

Figure 3.1.11 Potential risks of energy crop expansion on land access 28

• Improving yields, particularly in regions where crop and land productivity are considerably lower and could still be improved without incurring risks associated with intensive agriculture.

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