GHG Balance of Agricultural Intensification & Bioenergy Production in the Orinoquia Region, Colombia

Nidia Elizabeth Ramírez-Contreras*, David Munar-Florez, Floor van der Hilst, Juan Carlos Espinosa, Álvaro Ocampo-Duran, Jonathan Ruíz-Delgado, Diego L. Molina-López, Birka Wicke, Jesús Alberto Garcia-Nunez, André P.C. Faaij

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    Energy crop expansion can increase land demand and generate displacement of food crops, which impacts greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions mainly through land-use change (LUC). Increased agricultural productivity could compensate for this. Our study aims to evaluate the regional combined GHG emissions of increasing agricultural yields for food crop and beef production and using the generated surplus land for biomass production to replace fossil fuels in the Orinoquia region of Colombia until 2030. The results show that surplus land for biomass production is obtained only when strong measures are applied to increase agricultural productivity. In the medium and high scenario, a land surplus of 0.6 and 2.4 Mha, respectively, could be generated. Such intensification results in up to 83% emission reduction in Orinoquia’s agricultural sector, largely coming from increasing productivity of cattle production and improving degraded pastures. Biofuel potential from the surplus land is projected at 36 to 368 PJ per year, with a low risk of causing indirect LUC, and results in GHG emission reductions of more than 100% compared to its fossil fuel equivalent. An integrated perspective of the agricultural land use enables sustainable production of both food and bioenergy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number289
    Number of pages30
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar-2021


    • Acacia
    • Bioelectricity
    • Biofuels
    • Biomass
    • Cattle
    • Land-use change
    • Palm oil
    • Sugarcane
    • Sustainable intensification

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