Title: Likely impacts of biofuel expansion on Midwest land and water resources

Authors: Timothy Searchinger, Ralph Heimlich

Addresses: Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University, M27 Guyot Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA. ' Agricultural Conservation Economics, 7914 Belgaro Road, Laurel, MD 20723-1109, USA

Abstract: US ethanol production should exceed 12 billion gallons by 2010, and EISA 2007 mandates 36 billion gallons by 2022, diverting one-third of corn to ethanol and 13% of soybean production to biodiesel. Increased demand will ricochet through other agricultural sectors and alter production patterns and land use in the Corn Belt. This paper discusses effects of biofuel expansion on land and water resources. While US ethanol production will have large effects on international land use, there will likely be conversion of grassland to row crops, increased use of nitrogen fertiliser and pesticides, and increases in soil erosion in the Midwest.

Keywords: biofuel expansion; environmental impact; land use change; nitrogen run-off; soil erosion; pesticide use; wetlands; wildlife habitat; biofuels; USA; United States; ethanol production; land resources; water resources; nitrogen fertilisers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBT.2009.028103

International Journal of Biotechnology, 2009 Vol.11 No.1/2, pp.127 - 149

Published online: 05 Sep 2009 *

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