Biofuels, ecosystem services and human wellbeing: Putting biofuels in the ecosystem services narrative
Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2011
Pages: 111 - 128
Source ID: shanti-sources-87421
Abstract: First generation biofuels provide a number of ecosystem services (e.g., fuel, climate regulation) but they also compromise other ecosystem services (e.g., food, freshwater services) which are of paramount value to human wellbeing. However, this knowledge is fragmented and little is known about how the ecosystem services provided and/or compromised by biofuels link to human wellbeing. In fact, whether biofuels production and use can have a negative or positive impact on the environment and society depends on several interconnected factors. This paper provides a critical review of the drivers, impacts and tradeoffs of biofuel production and use. In particular, it rationalizes the evidence coming from diverse academic disciplines and puts it into perspective by employing the ecosystem services framework popularized by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA). An outcome of this systematic review is a simplified conceptual framework that illustrates the main trade-offs of biofuel production and use by employing a consistent language grounded on the concepts of ecosystem services. Given the almost complete lack of literature explicitly linking biofuels and ecosystem services, our review concludes by identifying priority research areas on the interface of biofuels, ecosystem services and human wellbeing.