Indirect land use change for biofuels: Testing predictions and improving analytical methodologies

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    Abstract

    Current practices for estimating indirect land use change (iLUC) due to United States biofuel production rely on assumption-heavy, global economic modeling approaches. Prior iLUC studies have failed to compare their predictions to past global historical data. An empirical approach is used to detect evidence for iLUC that might be catalyzed by United States biofuel production through a " bottom-up" , data-driven, statistical approach. Results show that biofuel production in the United States from 2002 to 2007 is not significantly correlated with changes in croplands for corn (coarse grain) plus soybean in regions of the world which are corn (coarse grain) and soybean trading partners of the United States. The results may be interpreted in at least two different ways: 1) biofuel production in the United States through 2007 (the last date for which information is available) probably has not induced any indirect land use change, and 2) this empirical approach may not be sensitive enough to detect indirect land use change from the historical data. It seems clear that additional effort may be required to develop methodologies to observe indirect land use change from the historical data. Such efforts might reduce uncertainties in indirect land use change estimates or perhaps form the basis for better policies or standards for biofuels.

    LanguageEnglish (US)
    Pages3235-3240
    Number of pages6
    JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
    Volume35
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 2011

    Profile

    biofuels
    land use change
    prediction
    testing
    methodology
    biofuel
    Biofuels
    Land use
    Testing
    soybeans
    corn
    soybean
    maize
    uncertainty
    economics
    cropland
    modeling
    world
    policy
    Economics

    Keywords

    • Biofuel
    • Corn
    • Historical data
    • Indirect land use change
    • Renewable energy policy
    • Soybean

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Agronomy and Crop Science
    • Forestry
    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • Waste Management and Disposal

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Current practices for estimating indirect land use change (iLUC) due to United States biofuel production rely on assumption-heavy, global economic modeling approaches. Prior iLUC studies have failed to compare their predictions to past global historical data. An empirical approach is used to detect evidence for iLUC that might be catalyzed by United States biofuel production through a {"} bottom-up{"} , data-driven, statistical approach. Results show that biofuel production in the United States from 2002 to 2007 is not significantly correlated with changes in croplands for corn (coarse grain) plus soybean in regions of the world which are corn (coarse grain) and soybean trading partners of the United States. The results may be interpreted in at least two different ways: 1) biofuel production in the United States through 2007 (the last date for which information is available) probably has not induced any indirect land use change, and 2) this empirical approach may not be sensitive enough to detect indirect land use change from the historical data. It seems clear that additional effort may be required to develop methodologies to observe indirect land use change from the historical data. Such efforts might reduce uncertainties in indirect land use change estimates or perhaps form the basis for better policies or standards for biofuels.",
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