We focus on the challenges and opportunities linked to deriving biomass from agricultural land in Sweden for bioenergy purposes and mitigating climate change. We aim to address conflicts and synergies between fulfilling societal demands for bioenergy and food while ensuring sustainable production and conservation of fertile soils and biodiversity. We combine ecological-economic modelling and stakeholder involvement with empirical studies and remote sensing to understand which policy options could attain these sustainability goals. Focussing on Sweden, a country with ambitious strategies for both climate, food production and the environment, we aim to:
(1) together with key actors generate scenarios for the future demands for biomass used as biofuels and or other industrial products and national food production, and alternative potential policies to increase feedstock input while fulfilling environmental objectives.
(2) assess the current potential of plant based biomass production from non-forested former agricultural land through remote-sensing in combination with databases and ground truthing, as well as surveys of land owners’ and administrators’ attitudes.
(3) quantify the local- and landscape-level impacts on above-ground biodiversity and associated ecosystem services of different land-use options, and their spatial allocation for production of agricultural biomass
(4) quantify the effects of production of agricultural biomass on soil carbon sequestration, belowground biodiversity and corresponding soil fertility.
(5) assess the impacts of different bioenergy policy options to support increased feedstock input for from agriculture, and evaluate the net impact on societal welfare through valuation of environmental impacts.
The project is structured into different workpackages as follows: