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No burn out for sustainable development!15.03.2007 - (idw) Bundesforschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft (FAL)
Outcome of a workshop of the working group "Sustainable Agriculture" of Agenda 21 for the Baltic Region (BALTIC 21) in Rostock (Germany)
Necessity requires invention, also with view to global change or limitation of fossil fuels. At the start of the millennium, the share of renewable energy was <3%, nearly doubled within 3 years and shall yield 12% in 2010 and even 20% in 2020. A lot of agricultural products which have been cooked, baked and eaten will either be turned to gas or liquefied before being used as fuel or incinerated. Best example is home-grown oats which ends up more or less completely in Swedish power plants as this crop proved to have the best technological features for incineration when compared to other cereals. Agricultural production in the new EU member states of the Baltic Region will face significant structural changes within the next years. Small farms will not be able to maintain their livelihood by producing foodstuff, but depend on alternatives. Here, an increase of cultivation of energy crops might sustain jobs in rural areas and even create new ones.
An enforcement of bio-energy in agriculture sounds like a promising concept to cope with global change, scarcity of energy and unemployment. However, there is concern whether this development will comply with the principle of sustainability which postulates "a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".
A workshop of the working group for sustainable agriculture of Agenda 21 for the Baltic Region (Task Force Sustainable Agriculture (TFSA)) addressed aspects of sustainable development of bio-energy production with special view to soil protection. The workshop took place in the context of the German EU Council Presidency at the International Centre of Rostock University on February 22, 2007.
Prognoses were given for the development of bio-energy production in the individual countries of the Baltic Sea region and discussed during the workshop. The vast hunger of our society for energy faces limitations for the extension of bio-energy production: Germany can supposedly increase the acreage of oilseed rape (biodiesel) from actually 1.5 million ha to maximum 1.8 million ha (photo 1). In comparison, in eastern Europe ample areas are available, for instance Ukraine with 3.5 million ha and Russia with >18 million ha and might enter EU because of a higher, subsidised price. Thus the political preference of bio-energy production might give a rise in costs for foodstuff in poorer countries.
The most important outcome of the workshop with regard to sustainability was the claim that it is imperative for bio-energy production that the requirements of soil protection are not reduced (photo 2). This way agricultural land can be used any time for the cultivation of healthy foodstuff and bio-energy production remains renewable.
Presentations of the workshop are available under http://www.baltic21.org/?meetings,table,agriculture_6
Contact: Prof. Dr. Dr. Ewald Schnug, Chairman of TFSA/B21, Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL), Institute of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Bundesallee 50, D-38116 Braunschweig, phone: 0049 531 596 2101; e-mail: email@example.com; PD Dr. Bettina Eichler-Löbermann, Agricultural and Environmental Faculty, Institute for Land Use, Dept. Agriculture by Tillage and Crop Husbandry, Rostock University, Justus v. Liebig Weg 6, D-18051 Rostock, phone: 0040 381 498 3064; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.baltic21.org/?meetings,table,agriculture_6 - Presentations of the workshop
http://idw-online.de/pages/de/news200486 - German version of the press release (deutsche Fassung der Pressemitteilung)
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