Many biofuel plants are weeds

A recent study entitled The Weedy Truth about Biofuels from the Invasive Species Council in Australia has highlighted the weedy nature of many of the species currently being considered for biofuel cropping. Unfortunately this weedy nature is what makes some of them so good for Australian conditions. They are able to thrive in marginal rainfall and soil areas and therefore would not compete with food crops.

Of the eighteen species covered by the study only one, Pongamia Tree (Milletia pinnata), was assessed as being even remotely suitable from a weed perspective. The study recommendation for Pongamia Tree is:

Recommendation: Because this plant has demonstrated capacity to spread from cultivation, it should not be grown outside its natural range close to national parks or watercourses. It should be declared a restricted plant that cannot be grown near sensitive areas. Some states have an appropriate declaration category but others do not.

Jatropha is one of the species covered the study. While Jatropha is considered a weed it is not on a global list of the 30 most invasive plants as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 Oct 07. The authors of the study have contacted Biofuels Digest to clarify the status of Jatropha. They also offered this warning:

The naïve enthusiasm shown for Jatropha and other weedy biofuel plants
recalls the enthusiasm shown for cane toads in a past age and the outcome may be similar.

We should be very wary of over-hyped agricultural ventures, as past experience with golden apple snails and deer farming has shown.

Source: Biofuels Digest, Invasive Species Council (thanks for the tip Sreenivas)


One Response

  1. […] Оригинал сообщения от Luke Hallam тут… […]

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