Land suitability assessments for bioenergy feedstocks in the EU – a review of data sources

There is significant potential for the mobilisation of bioresources from non-land-using sources (i.e. waste and residues) to meet the demand from the bioenergy sector, as demonstrated in a number of existing studies. However, it is clear that to meet a growing suite of demands for bioenergy and other biomass dependent sectors, some primary production of biomass (i.e. from agricultural crops and forestry) will continue to be needed. Understanding the scale of the biomass resource, the potential to mobilise it, and the environmental and climate consequences of doing so, is important in addressing the various sectoral ambitions.

In previous assessments that have attempted to meet these aims, data availability has been identified as a key limiting factor in coming to a confident conclusion of the potential availability of land in Europe for increased biomass production.

Focusing on the EU and three selected Member States (France, Italy and the Czech Republic), this scoping study provides a brief review of the availability and utility of data that can be used to assess the potential areas of land that could be suitable for producing biomass for energy supply in an agricultural context. The study concerns itself primarily with understanding the extent of land that is either not currently used or has only temporary or limited use for agricultural production.

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