Decreasing desired opportunity for energy supply of a globally acclaimed biofuel crop in a changing climate.
Under the pressure of growing populations and climate change globally, biofuel crops have motivated accelerating interest in the production of renewable bioenergy to provide a substantial proportion of the future energy supply. Both habitat suitability for cultivation and potential aggravating environmental problems from biofuel crops attract concerns worldwide. Jatropha curcas L. (Jatropha) is acclaimed as a magical biofuel crop with high potential to replace fossil fuels sustainably, as well as a multitude of environmental benefits. However, Jatropha is categorized as an invasive plant with a massive investment in new cultivations on a global scale but without a profound ecological knowledge. Given the ambitious policy target in production, it is urgent to achieve spatially explicit estimates of habitat suitability for increasing cultivation of Jatropha. The opportunities and risks for Jatropha were evaluated under climate change using the minimum and maximum representative concentration pathways (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5) by 2100. The extent of predicted suitable habitats may shrink by more than 45%, regardless of time slices, and the RCPs even considered assuming the most optimistic ability of dispersal. The impacts of climate change vary considerably among continents with the greater habitat loss in the Americas and Oceania than in Asia and Africa, and a high risk of habitat loss at low latitudes. The findings indicate that Jatropha would show a decreasing opportunity for desired energy supply. Due to the complexities of the likely impacts of climate change, this study provides important insights into developing cultivation policies for the utilization of Jatropha within a sustainable biofuel program.