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Assessment of the availability of marginal or idle land for bioenergy crop production in England and Wales - NF0444

Description
The overall objective of the study is to identify areas of idle land or land of currently marginal economic production value in England and Wales that could potentially be used to grow energy crops while minimising competition with existing food crop production, while also ensuring that any associated land use change does not have a significant impact on the anticipated green house gas saving or pose any other significant detrimental environmental impact.

The key aims of the work are

1) To identify and define types of idle and marginal land in England and Wales, identifying the key factors (including economic and environmental factors) that will influence whether such land could potentially convert to bioenergy cropping

2) Identify appropriate annual and perennial bioenergy crops that could viably be grown on the land areas identified in 1) above, taking account of the yield potential and economic return that may accrue to growers as an alternative to the existing land use

3) To identify, on a spatial scale for England and Wales the areas of land that could potentially convert to energy crop production, comparing current and potential use for energy production on the basis of suitability and estimated economic returns.

4) Identify the potential impacts of any land use change identified in 3) on soil carbon and other key environment parameters, to examine how this would affect the GHG balance for each biofuel/crop type combination and impacts on carbon payback period.

5) Identify what data and information could be supplied from the project analysis to assist DECC/Defra develop appropriate incentives to facilitate uptake of energy crop production in the most suitable locations.

6) Identify what contribution the identified biomass production could make towards meeting UK bioenergy targets

The work will be led by CSL working in consortium with ADAS
Objective
7. (b) Objectives

Overall objective

To identify UK areas of idle land or land of currently marginal economic production value that could be used to grow energy crops while minimising competition with existing food crop production and ensuring that any associated land use change does not have a significant impact on the anticipated green house gas saving, or any other significant detrimental environmental impact.

Scientific objectives

1) To identify and define types of idle and marginal land in England and Wales, identifying the key factors (including economic and environmental factors) that will influence whether such land could potentially convert to bioenergy cropping

2) Identify appropriate annual and perennial bioenergy crops that could viably be grown on the land areas identified in 1) above, taking account of the yield potential and economic return that may accrue to growers as an alternative to the existing land use (where managed)

3) Identify, on a spatial scale for England and Wales (using defined scenarios for identifying a range of marginal land situations) the areas of land that could potentially convert to energy crop production, comparing current and potential use for energy production on the basis of suitability and estimated economic returns.

4) Identify the potential impacts of any land use change on soil carbon and other key environment parameters, to indicate how this would affect the GHG balance for each biofuel/crop type combination and impacts on carbon payback period.

5) Based on findings from 3 and 4, identify what data and information could be provided from the study to help DECC/Defra develop appropriate incentives to help facilitate energy crop production in the most suitable locations.

6) Identify what contribution the identified biomass production could make towards meeting UK bioenergy targets

Project Documents
• Final Report : Assessment of the availability of marginal or idle land for bioenergy crop production in England and Wales   (2722k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2009

To: 2009

Cost: £110,912
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Keywords
Agriculture and Climate Change              
Arable Farming              
Biodiversity              
Biofuels              
Biomass Crops              
Crops              
Farming              
Soil              
Fields of Study
Non-Food Crops