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Energy Crops and Erosion Control in Germany in the Context of the Bioeconomy Strategy

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Abstract

In the context of climate change and a steadily rising demand for energy, the concept of a bioeconomy stands for a shift from fossil fuels to bio-based energy sources. In Germany the National Strategy on Bioeconomy promotes biomass as an energy carrier to meet the federal government’s ambitious targets for bioenergy generation. Inevitably, this requires an expansion of energy crop cultivation, which increases pressures on soil resources by reducing soil resistance to erosive
forces. Policies need to ensure that an intensification of energy crop cultivation is not increasing soil degradation, as soil is not only crucial for the bioeconomy, but also contributes to the provision of several ecosystem services. As soil erosion by water is the most severe threat to European soil, the focus was on regulations for erosion control. The policy analysis of relevant legislation at EU, national and regional level and the GIS-analysis of regional implementation practices revealed several shortcomings: Only few policy instruments set binding standards for erosion control. Furthermore, local authorities can undermine the risk assessment process and the resulting soil management restrictions. The GIS-analysis revealed an underestimation of erosion risk of approx. 24 %, regarding the total area of Saxony, which was chosen as an example. This could be linked to a low quality of
data within the assessment process. Local authorities balancing farmer’s interests and soil conservation were identified as another risk, which has the potential to significantly decrease the effectiveness of the current legislation. In cases of noncompliance with compulsory requirements subsidies can be reduced. However, due to limited resources, on-the-spot-checks are rare and penalties not necessarily transparent.

Authors
Lea Siebert Technical University Berlin (TU), Berlin
Date of publication 2020-08-14
DOI 10.20387/bonares-TZKG-FNRC
Version 1.0
Language English
License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Please cite as:

Siebert, L. (2020). Energy Crops and Erosion Control in Germany in the Context of the Bioeconomy Strategy. BonaRes Series. DOI: 10.20387/bonares-TZKG-FNRC

Siebert, L. (2020). Energy Crops and Erosion Control in Germany in the Context of the Bioeconomy Strategy. BonaRes Series. https://doi.org/10.20387/bonares-TZKG-FNRC

Siebert, Lea. "Energy Crops and Erosion Control in Germany in the Context of the Bioeconomy Strategy." BonaRes Series, Aug 2020, doi:10.20387/bonares-TZKG-FNRC

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