Friday, June 20, 2008

Biofuels as invasive species

Environmental Research Web: Biofuels have been getting some bad press recently. They have been blamed for food shortages, rising food prices and destroying livelihoods and some have been accused of increasing carbon dioxide emissions. Now there is more bad news. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warns that many biofuel crops are invasive and can be hugely detrimental to the environment.

The IUCN's Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) has identified all the crops currently being used or considered for biofuel production and ranked them according to the risk they pose of becoming invasive species. The report calls on countries to carry out risk assessments before they plant biofuel crops. It also urges governments to use low-risk species of crops for biofuels and introduce new controls to manage invasive species.

"The dangers that invasive species pose to the world couldn’t be more serious," says Sarah Simons, executive director of GISP. "They are one of the top causes of global species loss, they can threaten livelihoods and human health, and they cost us billions in control and mitigation efforts. We simply cannot afford to stand by and do nothing in the face of this threat."…

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