Environmental implications of using 'under utilised agricultural land' for future bioenergy crop production

Miyake, Saori, Smith, Carl, Peterson, Ann, McAlpine, Clive, Renouf, Marguerite and Waters, David (2015) Environmental implications of using 'under utilised agricultural land' for future bioenergy crop production. Agricultural Systems, 139 180-195. doi:10.1016/j.agsy.2015.06.010

Author Miyake, Saori
Smith, Carl
Peterson, Ann
McAlpine, Clive
Renouf, Marguerite
Waters, David
Title Environmental implications of using 'under utilised agricultural land' for future bioenergy crop production
Journal name Agricultural Systems   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0308-521X
Publication date 2015-10
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.agsy.2015.06.010
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 139
Start page 180
End page 195
Total pages 16
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract Land use change effects have emerged as an important area of global bioenergy sustainability policy and research. ‘Underutilised agricultural land’ has been previously proposed as a potential option for future bioenergy feedstock production that may minimise the environmental and social challenges of land use change. However, this has not been well tested to date. Our research aims to evaluate whether conversion of these lands to selected bioenergy crops can lead to favourable environmental outcomes for eight indicators related to water quantity and quality, and terrestrial biodiversity. A spatially explicit evaluation framework based on GIS was developed to quantify the environmental effects of land use change. The land use change scenarios, established in a case study region in subtropical Queensland, Australia, were for the production of Pongamia and two native eucalypt species (Spotted gum and Chinchilla white gum) on (i) existing ‘underutilised’ open grazing areas, (ii) existing ‘underutilised’ forested grazing areas, and (iii) all available ‘underutilised agricultural land’ in the case study catchment, under both low and high management intensity. We found that environmental benefits can be gained in scenarios where (i) open grazing areas (e.g., pastures) were used; (ii) native woody perennial bioenergy crops were planted; and (iii) the new plantations were under low management intensity. Other scenarios resulted in reduced environmental outcomes. The results flagged the importance of careful planning and management strategies, and the need for future bioenergy policy to provide more detailed prescriptions concerning land use planning and management if ‘underutilised agricultural lands’ are used for future bioenergy crop production.
Keyword Marginal land
Degraded land
Environmental sustainability
Land use change
Water quality
Abandoned agricultural land
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Official 2016 Collection
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 0 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article
Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Fri, 07 Aug 2015, 19:22:18 EST by Dr Carl Smith on behalf of School of Agriculture and Food Sciences