Beware of "Invasive Alien Species": Biofuels!
At the ongoing United Nations conference on
biodiversity in Bonn, Germany, strong arguments have emerged
against the use especially of "second-generation" biofuels --
made from nonfood crops like reeds and wild grasses.
Second-generation biofuel plantations growing jatropha, a genus
of succulents, have sprung up all over Africa. In the United
States and Europe, plans are being made to grow crops like switch
grass and giant reed for energy and fuel by big financial interests
from the US and Europe.
At the Bonn conference, scientists from the Global
Invasive Species Program, the Nature Conservancy and the
International Union for the Conservation of Nature as well as
other groups warned in their paper that "some of the most
commonly recommended species for biofuels production are also
major invasive alien species," therefore these crops should be
studied more before being cultivated for biofuel production in
But the EU is still committed to funding a project to
introduce the "giant reed, a high-yielding, nonfood plant into EU
agriculture," according to a plan authored by EU Commisioner
Mariann Fischer Boel.