Strategic deployment of riparian buffers and windbreaks in Europe can co-deliver biomass and environmental benefits
Within the scope of the new Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union, in coherence with other EU policies, new incentives are developed for farmers to deploy practices that are beneficial for climate, water, soil, air, and biodiversity. Such practices include establishment of multifunctional biomass production systems, designed to reduce environmental impacts while providing biomass for food, feed, bioenergy, and other biobased products. Here, we model three scenarios of large-scale deployment for two such systems, riparian buffers and windbreaks, across over 81,000 landscapes in Europe, and quantify the corresponding areas, biomass output, and environmental benefits. The results show that these systems can effectively reduce nitrogen emissions to water and soil loss by wind erosion, while simultaneously providing substantial environmental co-benefits, having limited negative effects on current agricultural production. This kind of beneficial land-use change using strategic perennialization is important for meeting environmental objectives while advancing towards a sustainable bioeconomy.
© The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Communications Earth & Environment, 2021, available online at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-021-00247-y . Keywords: biofuels; biogeochemistry; environmental impact.
Englund, O., Börjesson, P., Mola-Yudego, B. et al. Strategic deployment of riparian buffers and windbreaks in Europe can co-deliver biomass and environmental benefits. Commun Earth Environ 2, 176 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00247-y