College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Department of Social Sciences
Although renewable energy holds great promise in mitigating climate change, there are socioeconomic and ecological tradeoffs related to each form of renewable energy. Forest‐related bioenergy is especially controversial, because tree plantations often replace land that could be used to grow food crops and can have negative impacts on biodiversity. In this study, we examined public perceptions and ecosystem service tradeoffs between the provisioning services associated with cover types associated with bioenergy crop (feedstock) production and forest habitat‐related supporting services for birds, which themselves provide cultural and regulating services. We combined a social survey‐based assessment of local values and perceptions with measures of bioenergy feedstock production impacts on bird habitat in four countries: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the USA. Respondents in all countries rated birds as important or very important (83–99% of respondents) and showed lower enthusiasm for, but still supported, the expansion of bioenergy feedstocks (48–60% of respondents). Bioenergy feedstock cover types in Brazil and Argentina had the greatest negative impact on birds but had a positive impact on birds in the USA. In Brazil and Mexico, public perceptions aligned fairly well with the realities of the impacts of potential bioenergy feedstocks on bird communities. However, in Argentina and the USA, perceptions of bioenergy impacts on birds did not match well with the data. Understanding people’s values and perceptions can help inform better policy and management decisions regarding land use changes.
Halvorsen, K. E.,
Flaspohler, D. J.,
Webster, C. R.,
Dunn, J. L.,
Azahara Mesa‐Jurado, M.,
Sweitz, S. R.
Birds and bioenergy within the americas: A cross‐national, social–ecological study of ecosystem service tradeoffs.
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