EGU24-1409, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Coupling economic & ecological models - the effect on biodiversity from energy grass production 

Josefin Winberg1,2, Yann Clough1, Cecilia Larsson1, Johan Ekroos1,3,4, and Henrik Smith1,2
Josefin Winberg et al.
  • 1Lund University, Centre for Environment and Climate Science, Lund, Sweden
  • 2Lund University, Department of Biology, Conservation and Biodiversity Science, Lund, Sweden
  • 3University of Helsinki, Department of Agricultural Sciences, Plant Production Science, Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), Helsinki, Finland

Bioenergy is expected to play a key role in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, with biomass from grass and forestry pointed out as some of the main bioenergy sources in Northern Europe. The increased demand for biomass creates incentives for regional biofuel markets, assumed to replace imported biofuels in the substitution of fossil fuels in industries and the transport sector. In our study, we use coupled modelling of economic and ecological systems to investigate the potential landscape-scale impacts on biodiversity from increased production of lignocellulosic biomass for energy purposes in a farm-forest mosaic region in Southern Sweden. As a first step, we use the empirical and spatially explicit agent-based model AgriPoliS (Happe et al., 2006) to predict how profit-maximizing farmers respond to increased demand and price of ley biomass for energy purposes by changed farm structures and land use within a region, in response to. We expect that increased use of ley and grass biomass for energy could have a negative effect on fodder production, which in turn negatively affects dairy and livestock farming, ultimately with negative impacts on biodiversity if semi-natural grasslands (SNG) are abandoned or afforested. The impact on biodiversity from the resulting land-use changes is modelled in a second step, using a countryside species-area relationship model (cSAR) based on existing field data. By coupling the two models, we can predict the ecological impacts of changes in energy policies or markets, to ultimately understand if there are any tipping points for how much grass biomass can be used for energy until we have a decline in SNG and their associated biodiversity.

How to cite: Winberg, J., Clough, Y., Larsson, C., Ekroos, J., and Smith, H.: Coupling economic & ecological models - the effect on biodiversity from energy grass production , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-1409,, 2024.

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