Land-use, Bioenergy and Agro-biotechnology

Publication type:

35 pages


Regarding the prospects of agbiotech for bioenergy production, the WBGU has posed these main questions:

  • To what extent could biotechnology influence global sustainable plant production?
  • To what extent could biotechnology (in particular the use of GMOs for food and non-food production) decrease the potential of land-use competition by increasing yields?
  • What is the range of expected yield improvements that can be found in existing assessments?
  • On the other hand: What may be the risks? Could biotech possibly even increase the potential for competition between different land uses, i.e. due to crowding out effects or biosafety concerns?

This Introduction briefly surveys controversial issues around GM bioenergy crops, ways of framing those questions, assumptions bearing upon possible answers, and key terminology in this report.

The WBGU Expert Opinion itself is published as ”Future Bioenergy and Sustainable Land Use”, Earthscan, London, December 2009.

July, 2008

Les Levidov (Open University) and Helena Paul (Econexus)


Study for the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU)