Analyzing biofuel sources and predicting effects on water, soil and the atmosphere
The promise of switchgrass, the challenges for forests and the costs of corn-based ethanol production: Ecological scientists review the many factors surrounding biofuel crop production and its implications on ecosystem health in three new Biofuels and Sustainability Reports.
Produced by the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the nation's largest organization of ecological scientists, and sponsored by the Energy Foundation, these reports explore the production and use of biofuels from an ecological perspective.
Biofuels are liquid fuels derived from biological materials, such as plant stems and stalks, vegetable oils, forest products or waste materials. The raw materials, called feedstock, can be grown specifically for fuel purposes or can be derived from existing sources such as agricultural residue or municipal garbage. Sustainable biofuels are based on production that does not negatively affect energy flow, nutrient cycles and ecosystem services.
There are many options currently being explored for biofuel production and the reports address the implications of producing biofuels from forests, grasslands, rangelands and agricultural systems and the likely effects on water, soil and the atmosphere.
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