Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

CABI Book Chapter

Bioenergy and biological invasions: ecological, agronomic and policy perspectives on minimizing risk.

Book cover for Bioenergy and biological invasions: ecological, agronomic and policy perspectives on minimizing risk.


This book contains 9 chapters focusing on the ecological, agronomic and policy perspectives on minimizing risk of bioenergy and biological invasions. Topics covered include potential risks of algae bioenergy feedstocks, gene flow and invasiveness in bioenergy systems, use of weed risk assessments to separate the crops from the weeds and eradication and control of bioenergy feedstocks, among others...

Chapter 8 (Page no: 113)

Eradication and control of bioenergy feedstocks: what do we really know?

Feedstock removal is a matter of fundamental importance that is often completely overlooked or only given cursory attention in the current bioenergy dialogue. Feedstock removal generally refers to eradication or control efforts applied in a range of situations that may include everything from single escaped plants to entire production fields when crop rotation is desired. However, the terms "eradication" and "control" have been used carelessly, and there is much confusion about what they really mean. Furthermore, data is generally lacking on successful strategies for removal of most prospective bioenergy species from any situation. Within this chapter we seek to clarify the relevant terminology and provide an understanding of the current science of bioenergy feedstock removal. We discuss the three most important scenarios relevant to feedstock removal, which include: (i) eradication of escapes; (ii) removal from production fields during crop rotation; and (iii) removal from abandoned plantations if bioenergy markets collapse or fail to materialize. We also provide a practical discussion of the tools of feedstock removal including cultural, physical, biological, and chemical methods. We then review limited control and eradication data from the literature for three bioenergy candidate species that have some history as weeds and are currently at the heart of the bioenergy/invasive plant discussion: Arundo donax L. (giant reed), Pennisetum purpureum Schumacher (elephant grass or napiergrass), and certain Miscanthus Andersson (silvergrass) species. Although these perennial grasses are only one of several groups of prospective bioenergy crops, we believe that addressing these species will paint a general picture of the overall issue at hand. Finally, we present six key biological and ecological questions related to feedstock removal that often go unanswered but are of critical importance to the bioenergy discussion. It is our hope that the reader will recognize the importance of these questions which should be addressed by producers, researchers, and policy makers before opening what could be Pandora's box.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) The bioenergy landscape: sustainable resources or the next great invasion? Author(s): Quinn, L. D., Barney, J. N., Matlaga, D. P.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 12) What would invasive feedstock populations look like? Perspectives from existing invasions. Author(s): Quinn, L. D.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 35) Potential risks of algae bioenergy feedstocks. Author(s): Phang SiewMoi, Chu WanLoy
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 52) Gene flow and invasiveness in bioenergy systems. Author(s): Ridley, C. E., Mallory-Smith, C.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 67) Using weed risk assessments to separate the crops from the weeds. Author(s): Barney, J. N., Smith, L. L., Tekiela, D. R.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 85) Bioenergy and novel plants: the regulatory structure. Author(s): Endres, A. B.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 97) "Seeded-yet-sterile" perennial grasses: towards sustainable and non-invasive biofuel feedstocks. Author(s): Jessup, R. W., Dowling, C. D.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 134) Good intentions vs good ideas: evaluating bioenergy projects that utilize invasive plant feedstocks. Author(s): Nackley, L. L.