Wednesday, August 8, 2012: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Portland Blrm 251, Oregon Convention Center
Bruce Robertson, Bard College
Doug A. Landis, Michigan State University
A combination of energy policy and climate mitigation opportunities are driving interest in second-generation bioenergy production from cellulosic biomass. The US currently derives approximately 10% of its transportation fuel from first-generation biofuels, principally corn ethanol and biodiesel. In addition, biomass is increasingly being co-fired with fossil fuels to provide “green’ energy. To meet currently mandated targets for next-generation biofuel production in the US, most scientists believe that biomass will need to be harvested from a combination of agricultural and forest product residues as well as dedicated energy cropping systems in agricultural and forested landscapes. The biodiversity implications of producing and harvesting biomass from an additional 200-300 million acres of working lands are immense. The goal of this special session is to explore the implications of future bioenergy production systems on biodiversity ecosystem services broadly, and ask if bioenergy production and biodiversity might co-exist in a complimentary fashion. Bioenergy production systems have implications for a wide diversity of ecologists. Such systems will impact virtually all taxa; microbes, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, as well as altering population, community and ecosystem processes. Bioenergy production has particular relevance for ecologists interested in trophic cascades, biogeochemical and water cycling, and global change processes. Our session proceeds from a general introduction to the topic of biodiversity and biofuels, followed by more focused talks on biodiversity, ecosystem services and microbes. The focus then moves on to considerations about integrating biodiversity into production landscapes considering ecological, social, economic and policy-based trade-offs. Our speakers include a mixture of internationally respected experts, rising stars, and new voices. Importantly we have included social scientists who can explore the human dimensions and policy implication of future bioenergy production systems. The focus will be on North American systems and we also propose to learn from European perspectives where such cropping systems have been implemented for some time. All of our speakers are actively working on issue of bioenergy production and will bring new data and current contributions to the session.