Bioenergy, biomass and biodiversity

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


This chapter provides an overview of some of the known and potential impacts of biomass energy production on ecosystems and species. We focus on how an expanding bioenergy economy in the U.S. is likely to affect land use and habitat quality for forest and grassland species. We use evidence from key feedstocks such as corn to examine how current monoculture systems for feedstock production are likely to shape future landscape patterns. Then, we explore how the composition and patterning of habitats on the landscape will dictate which species are likely to be harmed by a growth in bioenergy feedstock production in the U.S. Alternatives to spatially extensive monocultures exist. Some of these are competitive with monocultures in terms of biomass produced per hectare and many are superior in terms of other metrics of land health such as wildlife habitat, soil conservation, ground and surface water pollution, and landscape aesthetics.

Publication Title

Renewable Energy from Forest Resources in the United States