Changes in land use
Another major challenge is to avoid negative land-use changes that can occur as a result of the cultivation of biomass for renewable fuels. In the worst case areas like rainforests or bogs are used. This is not in line with the sustainable use of resources and contradicts the goal of avoiding climate change - this is therefore strictly rejected by aireg.
However, cultivation on non-protected areas can also lead to so-called ‘Indirect Land Usage Change’ (ILUC), if unused and/or ecologically sensitive areas for food production are subsequently opened up because biomass cultivation is carried out on conventional agricultural land.
Reliable studies on the ILUC debate are not yet available. In the end, it comes down to the fact that every type of land use has to meet strict sustainability criteria, regardless of whether it is for growing energetic plants, producing food, or for other economic purposes.
In this sense, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has found that the discussion on fuels from renewable resources generally promotes the sustainability debate in agriculture.