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Future yields assessment of bioenergy crops in relation to climate change and technological development in Europe

Author(s): Salvatore L. Cosentino | Giorgio Testa | Danilo Scordia | Efthimia Alexopoulou

Journal: Italian Journal of Agronomy
ISSN 1125-4718

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Start page: e22;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: climate change | technological development | bioenergy crops | future yields

Bioenergy crops are expected to play an important role in reducing CO2 emission, in energy supply and in European energy policy. However, a sustainable bioenergy supply must be resilient to climate change and the impacts on agriculture at both global and regional scale. The purpose of this study was to forecast the potential distribution of several bioenergy crops based on agronomic and environmental constrains under current conditions and future scenarios (2020 and 2030) in European Union. Potential biomass yield, according to the category end use product achievable in each environmental zone of Europe at present and in the future available land have been also studied. Future yields were assessed according to two factors: technological development and climate change: the former was based on prospect of DG-Agriculture for conventional crops and expert judgments for bioenergy crops, while the latter based on relevant research papers and literature reviews which used site-specific crop growth models. Yields are expected to increase in northern Europe due to climate change and technological development, while in southerneastern Europe the negative effect of climate change will be mitigated by the technological development. The estimated total biomass production in Europe, on the basis of future yields and surplus land made available for energy crops, may not be sufficient to meet the needs of bioenergy supply as claimed in the European directive 2009/28/EC.

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