Published Friday, 15 February 2013

Land use mapping for sustainable biofuels 

As part of WWF’s Sustainable Land Use (SuLu) project, IEEP prepared a report to guide the mapping of appropriate land use that aims to ensure the production of sustainable biofuel feedstocks with minimal environmental impacts. International organisations, NGOs and biofuel developers are involved in a range of land use mapping initiatives as a way to improve the environmental credentials of biofuels and to reduce the risk of land use change as a consequence of biofuel crop cultivation.

IEEP believes that strict principles and criteria need to be followed in order to make mapping initiatives work for the environment and in particular for the protection of important habitats and carbon stocks. The newly published report ‘A Framework for Land Use Mapping’ therefore sets out principles to govern the process of mapping, such as the involvement of local stakeholders and the responsible environmental authorities, as well as criteria on data collection and processing to establish whether maps are fit for purpose. It also discusses how the Commission could go about assessing land use planning maps submitted by biofuel certification schemes and addresses the question whether land use mapping can reduce indirect land use change impacts.