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Title: How willing are landowners to supply land for bioenergy crops in the Northern Great Lakes Region?

Land to produce biomass is essential if the United States is to expand bioenergy supply. Use of agriculturally marginal land avoids the food vs. fuel problems of food price rises and carbon debt that are associated with crop and forestland. Recent remote sensing studies have identified large areas of US marginal land deemed suitable for bioenergy crops. Yet the sustainability benefits of growing bioenergy crops on marginal land only pertain if land is economically available. Scant attention has been paid to the willingness of landowners to supply land for bioenergy crops. Focusing on the northern tier of the Great Lakes, where grassland transitions to forest and land prices are low, this contingent valuation study reports on the willingness of a representative sample of 1124 private, noncorporate landowners to rent land for three bioenergy crops: corn, switchgrass, and poplar. Of the 11% of land that was agriculturally marginal, they were willing to make available no more than 21% for any bioenergy crop (switchgrass preferred on marginal land) at double the prevailing land rental rate in the region. At the same generous rental rate, of the 28% that is cropland, they would rent up to 23% for bioenergy crops (corn preferred), whilemore » of the 55% that is forestland, they would rent up to 15% for bioenergy crops (poplar preferred). Regression results identified deterrents to land rental for bioenergy purposes included appreciation of environmental amenities and concern about rental disamenities. In sum, like landowners in the southern Great Lakes region, landowners in the Northern Tier are reluctant to supply marginal land for bioenergy crops. If rental markets existed, they would rent more crop and forestland for bioenergy crops than they would marginal land, which would generate carbon debt and opportunity costs in wood product and food markets.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and Dept. of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
  2. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States). Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and Dept. of Agricultural and Applied Economics
  3. Univ. of Florida, Wimauma, FL (United States). Gulf Coast Research and Education Center
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
FC02-07ER64494; AC05‐76RL01830; AC05-76RL01830
Published Article
Journal Name:
Global Change Biology. Bioenergy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1757-1693
Research Org:
Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA); Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; bioenergy crops; bioenergy supply; contingent valuation; corn; food vs. fuel; land availability; marginal land; poplar; sustainability; switchgrass; Willingness to supply land
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1250389; OSTI ID: 1427716