Land use change within EU sustainability criteria for biofuels: The case of oil palm expansion in the Brazilian Amazon

Bicalho Tereza, Bessou Cécile, Pacca Sergio A.. 2016. Land use change within EU sustainability criteria for biofuels: The case of oil palm expansion in the Brazilian Amazon. Renewable Energy, 89 : pp. 588-597.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Quartile : Q1, Sujet : ENERGY & FUELS / Quartile : Q1, Sujet : GREEN & SUSTAINABLE SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY (Science)

Abstract : This paper discusses the oil palm expansion in the State of Pará, located in the Brazilian Amazon. It focuses on land use change aspects put in perspective with the sustainability criteria for biofuels of the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The study shows that palm oil production for energy purposes appears very promising in Brazil. In parallel to local targets, the mandatory European biofuel targets represent an important market potential for the country. It seems too early to know whether the export of palm oil biodiesel from Brazil to Europe will be significant or not. However, it is likely that palm oil exports for biodiesel production in Europe occur in the coming years. Although the RED includes some essential conditions for sustainable production of biofuels, we argue that the values imposed for calculating carbon stocks do not reflect diversity of pastureland where oil palm expansion occurs in the Brazilian Amazon. The use of certain land areas authorised within the RED may also represent a significant limit in terms of biodiversity protection. This study provides new insights that may be used to improve life cycle assessment of biodiesel from palm oil in order to avoid unintended policy consequences. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Elaeis guineensis, Plante énergétique, Biocarburant, Développement durable, Durabilité, Biodiésel, Huile de palme, Exportation, Réglementation des marchés, Entreprise, Utilisation des terres, Déboisement, Forêt, Pâturages, Biodiversité, Conservation des ressources, Analyse du cycle de vie, Plantations

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Para, Amazonie, Pays de l'Union européenne

Mots-clés complémentaires : Déforestation

Mots-clés libres : Brazilian palm oil, Biodiesel, Land use change, EU sustainability criteria

Classification Agris : P06 - Renewable energy resources
F01 - Crops
P01 - Nature conservation and land resources
K01 - Forestry - General aspects
E11 - Land economics and policies

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 2 (2014-2018) - Valorisation de la biomasse

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Bicalho Tereza, Universidade de São Paulo (BRA)
  • Bessou Cécile, CIRAD-PERSYST-UPR Systèmes de pérennes (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0001-6686-8468
  • Pacca Sergio A., Universidade de São Paulo (BRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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