Sustainable Land Use

The Increasing Competition for Biomass

The promotion of non-fossil energy sources is an important aspect of present climate and energy policy. The use of biomass has two advantages: It is climate neutral and it helps to reduce the dependency on fossil energy sources.On the other hand the increasing demand for suitable land in which this biomass needs to grow competes with the need for food production. This is causing conflicts between land use for food and those for producing bioenergy crops.

The current rise in prices for agricultural products is an indication of the economic and social problems arising by the increasing need for fertile agricultural land. These problems will be amplified by the change in land productivity caused by climate change (erosion, water stress, increasing soil salinity, and others more). All policies for promoting biomass as an alternative energy source will need to take these potential land use conflicts into account.