Ecological considerations in the sustainable development of terrestrial biofuel crops

S. Raghu, J. L. Spencer, A. S. Davis, R. N. Wiedenmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The emerging bioeconomy offers numerous potential benefits, including development of carbon-neutral energy sources, energy independence, production of novel bioproducts, and renewal of rural economies. Aside from the benefits, the emerging bioeconomy is likely to result in the single largest reconfiguration of the agricultural landscape since the advent of industrial agriculture. The scale and pace of this revolution pose significant challenges for sustainable bioeconomic development. We present and explore some of the key ecological and environmental challenges of one aspect of the bioeconomy. - biofuel production. In assessing these challenges, we highlight the inadequacy of seeking simplistic solutions. We identify the need for a multidimensional approach to addressing these challenges. We propose that the framework of 'biocomplexity' enables such a multidimensional and cross-disciplinary consideration of biofuel production. Integration of such a systems approach to biofuel development, with a more-inclusive public engagement process, would be beneficial within a triple bottom line context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • INHS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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