The growing of crops for bioenergy has been subject to much recent criticism, as taking away land which could be used for food production or biodiversity conservation. This book challenges some commonly-held ideas about biofuels, bioenergy and energy cropping, particularly that energy crops pose an inherent threat to ecosystems, which must be mitigated.
The book recognises that certain energy crops (e.g. oil palm for biodiesel) have generated sustainability concerns, but also asks the question "is there a better way?" of using energy crops to strategically enhance ecosystem functions. It draws on numerous case studies, including where energy crops have had negative outcomes as well as well as cases where energy crops have produced benefits for ecosystem health, such as soil and water protection from the cropping of willow and poplar in Europe and the use of mallee eucalypts to fight salinity in Western Australia. While exploring this central argument, the volume also provides a systematic overview of the socio-economic sustainability issues surrounding bioenergy.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Introduction
1. Bioenergy Crops and Sustainability
Part 2: Energy Cropping and Ecosystem Health
2. Bioenergy and Climate Change
3. Deforestation and Land Degradation
4. Ecological Restoration and Enhancement
Part 3: Socio-economic Dimensions of Energy Cropping
5. Food Security
6. Land Rights and Community Impacts
7. The Economics of Energy Cropping
Part 4: Moving Forward
8. Review of Policy Options
9. Case Studies: Australia and Brazil
Alex Baumber is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Sessional Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He has previously worked for the Future of Australia’s Threatened Ecosystems (FATE) Program and for the Australian Government Department of Environment and Heritage, Sustainable Wildlife Industries Section.
"Overall, this is a valuable addition to the literature on bioenergy crops; it recognises problems, deals in the reality of ecological protection, and reflects the ever present interplay between politics, economics and environment. ... its approach makes it relevant to a wide audience in environmental science/management at advanced undergraduate and postgraduate stages." - Antoinette Mannion, in Bulletin of the British Ecological Society (October 2016).