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Symposium 2009

Bioenergy and Land Use in Developing Countries

The Challenge

Food security and promoting modern uses of biomass as a source of energy are two key goals in developing countries. Are these conflicting interests impossible to reconcile or two ends of a common strategy?

Biomass is the most important source of energy in many developing countries, most notably in sub-Saharan Africa.

Although the bulk of biomass consumption is traditional burning of firewood for basic household energy services, there is growing discussion of the potential to build up modern biomass energy industries in developing countries, for example, biofuel and biogas industries.

On the one hand, biofuel production carries the danger of leading to competition for land use, potentially crowding out food production and leading to higher agricultural prices, which hit the world’s poorest hardest. Thus, it might, at first sight, seem cynical to think about using agricultural goods for providing fuel.

On the other hand, high prices could provide incentives for agricultural development. This would ultimately promote food security and provide resources for biofuel production while benefiting rural areas in developing countries.

The environmental dimension is also crucial: change of land use that results in massive carbon emissions is undesirable from a global climate point of view. It could also aggravate problems of soil erosion and water availability.To avoid problems of food provision as well as to preserve valuable natural areas and carbon stocks, it is proposed that mainly degraded land should be used to extend the agricultural area for biomass production. But many questions remain, including:

  • What is the potential contribution of biomass energy to the future development of developing countries?
  • How can we prevent the adverse effects from changing land with high carbon storage value to agricultural land?
  • How can we prevent conflicts between the use of biomass and food security?

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Grant emission reduction credits from conserving areas with high carbon storage value and provide an international certification scheme for sustainable biomass production. For this purpose, strengthen incentive mechanisms such as ...

    Grant emission reduction credits from conserving areas with high carbon storage value and provide an international certification scheme for sustainable biomass production. For this purpose, strengthen ...

    Grant emission reduction credits from conserving areas with high carbon storage value and provide an international certification scheme for sustainable biomass production. For this purpose, strengthen incentive mechanisms such as REDD (“Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation”).

    Polity
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Start a “new green revolution” in the least developed countries by promoting the uptake of modern agricultural technologies, best practice procedures and the associated skills; development aid should focus on ...

    Start a “new green revolution” in the least developed countries by promoting the uptake of modern agricultural technologies, best practice procedures and the associated skills; development aid sho ...

    Start a “new green revolution” in the least developed countries by promoting the uptake of modern agricultural technologies, best practice procedures and the associated skills; development aid should focus on such agricultural development and the necessary finance.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Modernize traditional biomass use by using biogenic waste and residues in decentralized biogas and electricity production and by investing in more efficient biomass-burning devices.

    Modernize traditional biomass use by using biogenic waste and residues in decentralized biogas and electricity production and by investing in more efficient biomass-burning devices.

    Modernize traditional biomass use by using biogenic waste and residues in decentralized biogas and electricity production and by investing in more efficient biomass-burning devices.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Investment in bioenergy production in developing countries must integrate local farmers closely.

    Investment in bioenergy production in developing countries must integrate local farmers closely.

    Investment in bioenergy production in developing countries must integrate local farmers closely.

    Business

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2009

    Bioenergy and Land Use in Developing Countries

    The Pros and Cons of bioenergy are not the same everywhere: At one end of the spectrum, countries with a large land endowment relative to the size of their population like Brazil operate large-scale i ...

    The Pros and Cons of bioenergy are not the same everywhere: At one end of the spectrum, countries with a large land endowment relative to the size of their population like Brazil operate large-scale industrial bioenergy production. At the other end, traditional uses of bioenergy prevail in low income countries with a poorly developed transport and energy infrastructure (DR Congo for example has a share of over 95 % of traditional bioenergy use in its energy balance (Cf. http://www.globalbioenergy.org/fileadmin/user_upload/gbep/docs/2007_events/press_G8/Bioenergy_Facts_and_Figures_01.pdf)). Hence solutions to the development process and the role of bioenergy need to be assessed in a differentiated manner.

    Polity, Business
    Proposal
    Symposium 2009

    How to prevent conflicts between energetic use of biomass and food security?

    Use land sustainably and raise the productivity of agriculture. Agricultural intensification is a sine qua non for improved food security at all levels in a world in which (i) yield growth for basic g ...

    Use land sustainably and raise the productivity of agriculture. Agricultural intensification is a sine qua non for improved food security at all levels in a world in which (i) yield growth for basic grains has been declining for at least 20 years now and (ii) the need to protect land has become more urgent – for reasons ranging from the requirements of nature and biodiversity conservancy to environmental, quality-of-life, and climate considerations. Grow more with less in each of the 4 functions of agriculture (food, feed, fibre, fuel), raising in particular the efficiency and sustainability of land and water use.

    Business
    Proposal
    Symposium 2009

    The Diligent way for Bio-Energy and Land-Use in Developing Countries

    The challenge: Although there has been much debate recently about how biofuel production is taking away valuable farmland for food production in developing countries, this is in fact not the main issu ...

    The challenge: Although there has been much debate recently about how biofuel production is taking away valuable farmland for food production in developing countries, this is in fact not the main issue for now. There is still sufficient land to produce both food ánd bio-energy in many developing countries – certainly in Eastern Africa. The real problem is that in these countries the current methods to produce and distribute food (and also to produce and distribute bio-energy such as charcoal and fuelwood), are grossly inefficient. In East-Africa, agriculture is a sector of predominantly very small farmers, who have little access to

    Business
    Proposal
    Symposium 2009

    Realizing value from biomass utilization: looking beyond biofuels

      Biomass today provides some 10 percent of global primary energy. In many rural regions in the developing world, biomass is still the dominant source of primary energy, particularly for cooking. It ...

      Biomass today provides some 10 percent of global primary energy. In many rural regions in the developing world, biomass is still the dominant source of primary energy, particularly for cooking. It is widely accepted that much more energy services could be obtained from sustainable biomass than is presently the case, and that biomass has a considerable potential for contributing to increased energy security, economic development, and climate change and air pollution mitigation. These multiple objectives are important, as they reflect, in practice, a variety of perspectives through which the area of biofuels or modern biomass may be viewed. At

    Polity, Business

    Implemen- tations

    Implementation