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Event Conference on ‘Biofuels and Biodiversity’

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Period 25/06/2009
Event location Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences Rue vautier 29, 1000 Brussels
Host Belgian Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Security and Environment, DG Environment

In 2007 the European Union set a mandatory minimum target of 10% of renewable energy in transport by 2020. This bio-fuel production policy evoked many reactions from environmental and development cooperation NGOs, as well as from researchers. According to them, an increased bio-fuel production could, at global level, lead to severe ecosystem and biodiversity loss, including mass deforestation, increased greenhouse gas emissions, increased soil degradation, food shortage and food price increases, population displacement and increased poverty and hunger. At European level, these stakeholders forecasted increased fertilizer and pesticide pollution, biodiversity reduction by an increased overall intensification of agriculture, higher food prices, unfavourable life cycle for GHG emissions, and reduction of State financial resources. International organisations like the World Bank, the IMF, the FAO and the OCDE likewise expressed their concerns, especially with respect to the impact of agro-fuel production on food prices and the consequences for poor and undernourished people in developing countries.

In this framework, a study was executed on behalf of the Belgian Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Security and Environment, DG Environment to assess the impact of bio-fuel production on agricultural biodiversity in Belgium. Hereby, different scenarios were envisaged for the development of 1st and 2nd generation bio-fuels. The resulting land use changes under these scenarios were estimated by means of the agricultural sector model ESIM. In a next step, the effects of these land use changes on several categories of biodiversity were discussed and quantified by a model that estimated their impact on the populations of 6 farmland bird species that were selected as indicator species. The conference will present the results of this study. The conference language will be English, but participants will also be able to ask questions in Dutch or French.

PROGRAMME

10h00 Introduction by Paul Magnette, Federal Minister of Climate and Energy

10h20 Economic and land use change effects of bio-fuel development, by Stephan Nolte (Ghent University)

10h50 The effect of bio-fuels on biodiversity, by René Marie Lafontaine (RBINS) and Alain Peeters (RHEA)

11h20 The effect of bio-fuel on farmland birds, by René Marie Lafontaine (RBINS) and Alain Peeters (RHEA)

11h50 Discussion chaired by Roland Moreau DG of the FPS Environment

12h20 Reception


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