BOKU - Universität für Bodenkultur Wien - Forschungsinformationssystem

Gewählte Publikation:

Kalt, G; Mayer, A; Theurl, MC; Lauk, C; Erb, KH; Haberl, H.
(2019): Natural climate solutions versus bioenergy: Can carbon benefits of natural succession compete with bioenergy from short rotation coppice?
GCB BIOENERGY. 2019; 11(11): 1283-1297. FullText FullText_BOKU

Short rotation plantations are often considered as holding vast potentials for future global bioenergy supply. In contrast to raising biomass harvests in forests, purpose-grown biomass does not interfere with forest carbon (C) stocks. Provided that agricultural land can be diverted from food and feed production without impairing food security, energy plantations on current agricultural land appear as a beneficial option in terms of renewable, climate-friendly energy supply. However, instead of supporting energy plantations, land could also be devoted to natural succession. It then acts as a long-term C sink which also results in C benefits. We here compare the sink strength of natural succession on arable land with the C saving effects of bioenergy from plantations. Using geographically explicit data on global cropland distribution among climate and ecological zones, regionally specific C accumulation rates are calculated with IPCC default methods and values. C savings from bioenergy are given for a range of displacement factors (DFs), acknowledging the varying efficiency of bioenergy routes and technologies in fossil fuel displacement. A uniform spatial pattern is assumed for succession and bioenergy plantations, and the considered timeframes range from 20 to 100 years. For many parameter settings-in particular, longer timeframes and high DFs-bioenergy yields higher cumulative C savings than natural succession. Still, if woody biomass displaces liquid transport fuels or natural gas-based electricity generation, natural succession is competitive or even superior for timeframes of 20-50 years. This finding has strong implications with climate and environmental policies: Freeing land for natural succession is a worthwhile low-cost natural climate solution that has many co-benefits for biodiversity and other ecosystem services. A considerable risk, however, is C stock losses (i.e., emissions) due to disturbances or land conversion at a later time.
Autor/innen der BOKU Wien:
Erb Karlheinz
Haberl Helmut
Kalt Gerald
Lauk Christian
Mayer Andreas
Theurl Michaela
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Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
carbon accounting
carbon sequestration
carbon stock change
climate change mitigation
energy plantations
land use
land-use change
natural climate solution
natural succession
short rotation coppice

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