Biofuels run the risk of becoming invasive species

Many countries are currently looking at growing high-yielding crops for the production of biofuels as alternatives to traditional fuels (petrol and diesel) to address imminent energy shortages and reduce impacts of climate change. This usually involves the importation of foreign (i.e., alien) species of plants that are known for their fast and productive growth. If these initiatives are not carefully assessed, however, promoting the cultivation of some popular species for biofuel production will increase two of the major causes of biodiversity loss on the planet: clearing and conversion of yet more natural areas for monocultures, and invasion by non-native species. This note provides basic information and recommendations for proposals on biofuel developments using species that may have a history of invasion and so require careful management if they are to be used on a large scale and not contribute to natural habitat and biodiversity loss.

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