European experts Recommendation for bioenergy crops environmental sustainability
The Standing Committee of the Bern Convention (the Council of Europe Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats), worried that the increase of biofuel cropping systems may lead to cultivation escapes of invasive taxa with subsequent negative effect on native biological diversity, adopted advices to reduce impacts, of potentially invasive alien plants being used as biofuel crops, on species biodiversity and natural ecosystems (Recommendation 141, 2009).
ISPRA with a report submitted to the Bern Convention panel of European experts prompted these measures. The Italian Institute for Environmental Protection (an agency leaded by the Italian Ministry for the Environment) in the report drawn attention to the fact that sustainable development and environmental benefits can be jointly achieved only when biofuel crops are farmed in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The Recommendation, which is legally binding on member states, warns that some biofuel crops invade disturbed areas outside cultivated fields, and in so doing may impact on native biodiversity. The Council of Europe, made advices to reduce potential invasivenes of alien plants being used as biofuel crops.
It is important, say the experts, to bring in pre-cultivation screening for each proposed genotype and region. In addition new cultivation criteria to limit the dispersal and recruitment capacity of the invasive crops need to be introduced. Without these measures, escaped biofuel crops may cause loss of native biodiversity and farmland functionality.
In the long-term, biofuel crops with invasive traits need to be limited in number and extent, even if this affects the agronomic efficiency and financial bottom line. Complying with these Bern Convention recommendations will conserve
sustainable energy in Europe
Attachment(s) from Sustainable Bioenergy
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