Production potential of agricultural biomass and policy instruments to promote a fossil-free society while meeting food production and environmental objectives
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.
Sustainably mobilizing agricultural biomass for bioenergy is a key component of pathways to a fossil-free society, according to the Swedish climate strategy. It remains unclear however
- what the social and economic limitations are for diversion of crop residues, adoption of bioenergy crops, grassland intensification and re-cultivation of abandoned land,
- which biodiversity and ecosystem services impacts this would have locally and across landscapes, and
- which policies would be needed to mobilize agricultural biomass for bioenergy without harming food security and the environment, including the sustainability of farming.
We address these questions for contrasting agricultural regions in Sweden. We develop scenarios for bioenergy demand and agricultural policy and evaluate these with economic farmer-agent-based models to predict changes in land use, production, farm structure and incomes, validated with land managers and public administration representatives.
Ecological studies are combined with prior knowledge, remote sensing and ecosystem service models to predict impacts of the agent-based modelled changes in land use and bioenergy production under the different policy scenarios. An interdisciplinary multi-methods approach covering key sectoral drivers, multiple sustainable development goals as well as tight collaboration with policy-makers and land managers will generate significant decision-support for European, national and regional policy and administration.
Land4biomass is funded by Formas and runs from 2019-2022.