Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.biombioe.2014.08.016
Title (Primary) Energy crops and pesticide contamination: Lessons learnt from the development of energy crop cultivation in Germany
Author Bunzel, K.; Kattwinkel, M.; Schauf, M.; Thrän, D.
Source Titel Biomass & Bioenergy
Year 2014
Volume 70
Page From 416
Page To 428
Language englisch
Keywords Bioenergy; Energy crops; Pesticides; Agroecosystems; Crop rotation; Grassland
UFZ wide themes RU6
Abstract Biomass provides two thirds of the total energy produced from renewables in Europe. The share of bioenergy from energy crops is growing rapidly. Given the environmental pressures arising from pesticide pollution from current agricultural food production, a substantial increase in energy crop cultivation might put additional pressure on biodiversity and soil and water resources. In the present study, we examine the potential of energy crops for pesticide contamination and develop general conclusions and recommendations for the future large-scale expansion of agricultural bioenergy. We base our analysis on the development of energy crop cultivation in Germany, the European country with the largest share of energy crops. Our findings reveal that there will not necessarily be an increase or decrease in the amounts of pesticides released into the environment. Due to the great variety of energy crops, the potential effects will depend rather on the future design of the agricultural systems. Possible risks are associated with the increased cultivation of pesticide-intensive energy crops, such as rapeseed, especially when grown in monocultures or on formerly set-aside land or converted grassland. Instead, energy crops should be integrated into the existing food production systems. Financial incentives and further education are needed to encourage the use of sustainable crop rotations, innovative cropping systems and perennial energy crops, which may add to crop diversity and generate lower pesticide demands than intensive food farming systems. Optimised cultivation systems with diverse crop rotations could help to improve monotonous agricultural landscapes, increase biodiversity and minimise pesticide exposure.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Bunzel, K., Kattwinkel, M., Schauf, M., Thrän, D. (2014):
Energy crops and pesticide contamination: Lessons learnt from the development of energy crop cultivation in Germany
Biomass Bioenerg. 70 , 416 - 428 10.1016/j.biombioe.2014.08.016