Bioenergy and Invasion

Many of the characteristics of desirable bioenergy feedstocks are also associated with heightened invasion risk. By selecting native or non-invasive feedstocks and by adopting cultivation practices that minimize the risk of escape into the environment, we can ensure that renewable fuel development will not contribute to the introduction or spread of invasive species. ELI's work provides the foundation for a nuanced discussion of how regulatory and incentive programs can work together to ensure that bioenergy development does not result in the introduction and spread of new invasive species.

  • Developing best practices for state bioenergy feedstock permitting: States have begun to enact laws requiring permits for cultivation of non-native crops for purposes other than food. ELI research provides an overview of these state programs and their adoption of best practices for feedstock selection, production, and end-of-life facility closure.
  • Connecting Weed Risk Assessment and biofuel law and policy: In recent years, USDA and others have developed science-based Weed Risk Assessment (WRA) tools that accurately predict invasion risk. ELI's research highlights how these tools have been used to assess bioenergy feedstocks and how they are and can be incorporated into or used by the laws, policies, and programs governing and providing incentives for bioenergy development. This research informs the bioenergy programs and policies at USDA, EPA, DOE, and other state and federal agencies.



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