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The role of biomass in a sustainable bio-economy: significant developments and impact on land use, climate and environmental services
Convener: Vanessa Parravicini  | Co-Conveners: Robert Jandl , Viktor J. Bruckman 
 / Attendance Wed, 11 Apr, 17:30–19:00

The outcomes of the COP21 negotiations in Paris and a range of national status reports on climate change deliver a clear message to the scientific community and policy makers. We are in need of clean and renewable sources of energy and raw materials to move towards a bio-economy in various sectors. In addition, the requirement of rethinking our 'take, make, dispose' model of production into a circular economy has become a strong priority and has promoted intensive research work in the fields of resource recovery out of organic waste streams. In this context, biomass from various sources represents a versatile renewable source of energy and biomass-derived compounds that can substitute oil-based products e.g. in the chemical industry. Moreover, the application of cascading bioenergy systems as well as of integrated “bio-refinery” concepts help lowering the cost and the ecological impact of biomass production and processing. Besides the benefits, also drawbacks can arise and need to be addressed thoroughly.

This session is open to contributions assessing aspects of biomass production and utilization at different scales (e.g. local-global, national inventories), dealing with consequences of land-use change caused by increasing biomass production on environmental systems such as biodiversity (e.g. species distribution and dynamics, invasive species, impacts on habitat quality), soils (e.g. nutrient depletion, acidification, carbon cycle, soil amendments), water (e.g. pollution, altering catchment water balances), atmosphere (e.g. CO2 mitigation potentials, VOC’s emission of fast growing species, impact of urban biosphere on overall urban GHG emissions).

The recovery of energy, nutrients and organics out of organic waste streams is also main topic of the session, with special focus on i) integrated solutions for producing and extracting added-value products, ii) smart energy concepts for both rural and urban areas. Contributions based on a comprehensive approach comprising ecological impacts and LCA/LCCA are particularly encouraged.

Contributions introducing theoretical concepts, models or the development of methods as well as interdisciplinary and holistic approaches/examples, as well as research proposing alternative and /or cascade use of biomass are highly appreciated.

This session is organized by the Commission for Interdisciplinary Ecological Studies and the Commission Climate and Air Quality of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and co-organized with the IUFRO Task-Force “Forest Biomass Network (FBN)” and the working group 7.01.03, Impacts of air pollution and climate change on forest ecosystems – Atmospheric deposition, soils and nutrient cycles.