Large-scale expansions of woody biofuel plantations have negative effects on the species covered in this study, with little variation among biogeographical regions, but with considerable differences among species groups. The developed software tool for managing through data analysing enables policy makers to assess the potential impact of decisions on the future by biodiversity monitoring.
The European Union (EU) has as a prime objective for halting or significantly decreasing the loss of biodiversity by 2010. In order to achieve this goal, the EU is keen to assess the impact of its policy measures on biodiversity levels using cost-effective tools. Under the auspices of the European Commission, BIOSCORE project developed such a cost-effective tool based on species-specific ecological requirements, to generate species sensitivity scores. Concurrently, research on the relationship between multiple pressures and biodiversity is being performed by its sister project ALARM.
Obtained results showed that large-scale short-rotation woody energy plantations can lead to biodiversity loss and should therefore be planned carefully. It is agreed that when short rotation bioenergy crops are properly managed (i.e. by identifying parameters as adequate weed control, by preserving existing sensitive habitats, promoting small stands, using various woody crop species, or limiting the use of fertilizers) biodiversity levels may be slightly enhanced. Yet this approach would not be sufficient to prevent the loss of species from vanishing open habitats (according to scenarios). Even so, as it is obviously uncertain to what extent land use changes will occur, an ex-ante abandonment of woody biomass production as sustainable energy source may be premature.
In conclusion, the framework developed in this project has sought to support policy makers in evaluating a wide variety of current policy measures, and to forecast the impact on biodiversity under planned actions at a coarse scale. The tool developed in this project and applied to this specific case has indicated the potential of sensitivity scores to assess current and future policy impacts on biodiversity in a cost-effective way with these
Eco-innovation & Eco-efficiency new indicators setting. This tool is able to show how the potential effects of policy options (e.g. substantial woody bioenergy crop production) on biomes may be projected in a relatively simple way.
Louette G., Maes D., Alkemade J. R. M. and et al. Bioscore-Cost-effective assessment of policy impact on biodiversity using species sensitivity scores (2010). Journal for Nature Conservation 18 (142–148)