Biofuel development, food security and the use of marginal land in China

Qiu H, Huang J, Keyzer M, van Ween W, Rozelle S, Fischer G, & Ermolieva T (2011). Biofuel development, food security and the use of marginal land in China. Journal of Environmental Quality 40 (4): 1058-1067. DOI:10.2134/jeq2011.0012.

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Abstract

With concerns of energy shortages, China, like the United States, European Union, and other countries is promoting the development of biofuels. However, China also faces high future demand for food and feed, and so its bioenergy program must try to strike a balance between food and fuel. The goals of this paper are to provide an overview of China's current bioethanol program, identify the potential for using marginal lands for feedstock production, and measure the likely impacts of China's bioethanol development on the nation's future food self-sufficiency. Our results indicate that the potential to use marginal land for bioethanol feedstock production is limited. Applying a modeling approach based on highly disaggregated data by region, our analysis shows that the target of 10 million t of bioethanol by 2020 seems to be a prudent target, causing no major disturbances in China's food security. But the expansion of bioethanol may increase environmental pressures due to the higher levels of fertilizer use. This study shows also that if China were able to cultivate 45% of its required bioethanol feedstock on new marginal land, it would further limit negative effects of the bioethanol program on the domestic and international economy, but at the expense of having to apply another 750 thousand t of fertilizer.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bio-energy; Energy shortages; Environmental pressures; European Union; Feedstock production; Fertilizer use; Food security; International economy; Modeling approach
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Bibliographic Reference: Journal of Environmental Quality; 40(4):1058-1067 (July 2011)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:45
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2016 09:20
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/9569

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