Biofuels and land use conversion II

Continuing the earlier post, below is Figure 3 from “Our share of the planetary pie,” a paper from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007. The upper map shows the percentage of net primary productivity used by humans for food; the lower map shows the percentage of net primary productivity (NPP) used by humans for non-food and luxury crops such as cotton and coffee. See Figure 1 at the link for a map showing croplands and pastures.

A few things worth noting: compare human appropriation of net primary productivity (HANPP, the biosphere bounty humans skim off before flora and fauna can get it) in the US Northwest and Europe. Look at the equatorial regions, where most biofuel-related land use changes have and would occur and where most biodiversity lives. Look at Borneo, the big island northwest of Australia: the purple in the lower map probably represents palm oil plantations, which result in nearly 100% HANPP where they occur. In general, areas with no HANPP are tropical, temperate, or boreal forest, arctic/antarctic regions, or desert.

About Steve

Steve Verhey, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Cascadia Carbon Institute (CCI). CCI is a nonprofit think tank dedicated to educating policymakers, agriculturalists, industry, and the public about sustainability, agriculture, renewable energy, and global climate change. Dr. Verhey has been involved in sustainable agriculture and energy issues for over 20 years. Trained as an agricultural scientist, he received his Ph.D in plant molecular biology and biochemistry from Oregon State University and his M.S. in Botany from the University of Washington. He recieved his B.A. in Biology from Reed College. He has served as a consultant for a variety of national and international renewable energy projects for companies such as Boston Consulting Group, HSBC, Portland General Electric, Algenol, Harvest Partners, Biofields SAPI de CV, Guggenheim Partners, Viking Global Investors, and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. He is co-founder and Chief Managing Manager of Central Washington Biodiesel LLC, a rationally sized biodiesel startup, and served as Chief Science Officer for Bioalgene, an algae-to-fuel startup.
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