Economics and Rural Development, Volume 7, Number 1

COMPETITION FOR LAND RESOURCES RESULTING FROM BIOENERGY DEVELOPMENT: THEORETICAL APPROACH

Bernardas Kniūkšta, Jonas Čaplikas
Aleksandras Stulginskis University

Abstract

It is well established that agriculture-based bioenergy development has direct and indirect effects in economic, social, and envi-ronmental fields. In social and economic fields, some effects emerge as a result of a close interaction between biofuel and agricultural product markets. Such interaction arises where agricultural products are used to satisfy both food and energy demands. Consequently, this interaction gives rise to competition for agricultural products, including land resources, between biofuel and food industries. Generally the levels of competition intensity depend on the availability of land resources, which essentially determines the potential volumes of agricultural production where other traditional measures for increasing production volumes are exhausted.
The article aims to reveal a theoretical approach towards competition for land resources resulting from bioenergy development and to formulate preconditions for minimizing this competition. The research methods include monographic method, analysis for comparison of different opinions, analysis and synthesis of scientific literature, generalization, modeling, and logical abstraction techniques.
In many cases, various bioenergy development studies and models make only a passing reference to the issue of land resources. This article reveals competition for land resources triggered by agriculture-based bioenergy development, the preconditions for its formation and possible ways of manifestation. It discusses the competition for land resources through land conversion and land real-location. Furthermore, it looks at the most common arguments to deny the competition for land resources, its scope and importance. These arguments are usually grounded on the possibilities of improving agricultural productivity and the use of additional or set-aside land that is marginal in terms of food/fiber production. Some bioenergy development scenarios consider waste generated in food/fiber production to be the main source for biofuels production.
One of the main outcomes of this article is a theoretical model of changes in the use of land resources under the conditions of in-tense bioenergy development, which focuses on the national level. This model displays the distribution of land resources in both pre-bioenergy and post-bioenergy environment. Following this model preconditions for minimizing competition for land resources are presented. Firstly there are discussed a view on exogenously restricted allocation of land resources, which is vital to preventing food shortages and food price shocks in the short term. On the other hand there are also presented a viewpoint that government regulation (various prohibitions) cannot bring about an appreciable effect in this land resource allocation area. However, the experience of vari-ous countries shows that subject to political regulation of the said competitive area coexistence of the production of biofuels and food is basically possible.

Keyword(s): bioenergy, biofuels, competition, land resources, land conversion, land reallocation, agricultural products, biomass


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Economics and Rural Development ISSN 1822-3346 / eISSN 2345-0347

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