Indirect Land Use Change and Bio-based Products
This chapter provides insights into those mechanisms leading to undesirable land use changes associated with the expansion of all biologically-based products, thus including biofuels and bio-based materials. The chapter conducts a reconnaissance of the land use change effects which are climate relevant, reversible in the long run or irreversible and, in some cases, synergetic with climate change. It reviews the main causes and presents evidence, as an example, of indirect land use changes – still ongoing – due to the biofuel policy in the US. The analysis of thresholds and certification criteria in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) revealed that a major role will be played by certification schemes and methods of certification of low iLUC risk biomass. Causal-descriptive models are presented as an appropriate class of models to support certification schemes and a dynamic system model generated through the European H2020 project STAR-ProBio project, named SydiLUC, is introduced. The model can be applied to various categories of bio-based products and estimates the annual land expansion per functional unit of bio-based product as well as the risk associated with a specific production route, in line with the most recent regulatory measures.