Published September 12, 2013
THEME: Biofuel Development, Policy Formulation
TITLE: Second generation biofuels and bioinvasions: An evaluation of invasive risks and policy responses in the United States and Canada
AUTHOR(S): Andrea L. Smith, Nicole Klenk, Stepan Wood, Nina Hewitt, Irene Henriques, Norman Yan, Dawn R. Bazely
JOURNAL: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
DATE: June 7, 2013
TAGS: biofuels, biological invasion, invasive species, second generation, policy, risk
ABSTRACT: Biofuels are being embraced worldwide as sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels, because of their potential to promote energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while providing opportunities for job creation and economic diversification. However, biofuel production also raises a number of environmental concerns. One of these is the risk of biological invasion, which is a key issue with second generation biofuel crops derived from fast-growing perennial grasses and woody plant species. Many of the most popular second generation crops proposed for cultivation in the U.S. and Canada are not native to North America, and some are known to be invasive. The development of a large-scale biofuel industry on the continent could lead to the widespread introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive plant species if invasive risks are not properly considered as part of biofuel policy. In this paper, we evaluate the risk of biological invasion posed by the emerging second generation biofuel industry in the U.S. and Canada by examining the invasive risk of candidate biofuel plant species, and reviewing existing biofuel policies to determine how well they address the issue of invasive species. We find that numerous potentially invasive plant species are being considered for biofuel production in the U.S. and Canada, yet invasive risk receives little to no attention in these countries' biofuel policies. We identify several barriers to integrating invasive species and biofuel policy, relating to policy analytical capacity, governance, and conflicting policy objectives. We recommend that governments act now, while the second generation biofuel industry is in its infancy, to develop robust and proactive policy addressing invasive risk. Policy options to minimize biological invasions include banning the use of known invasive plant species, ongoing monitoring of approved species, and use of buffer zones around cultivated areas.
LINKS: To view the entire publication, go to http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032113003900
COPYRIGHT: Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: A.L. Smith, N. Klenk, S. Wood, N. Hewitt, I. Henriques, N. Yan, D.R. Bazely. (2013). Second generation biofuels and bioinvasions: An evaluation of invasive risks and policy responses in the United States and Canada. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 27, 30-42.
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