Bio-economic potential of agroforestry-based biofuel systems
Liquid biofuels are considered as a strategy for achieving energy security, stimulating rural development and mitigating climate change. Low-income countries largely focus on biofuel production from non-food crops and trees grown on underutilized lands, in order to minimize food, fuel and environmental trade-offs. Unfounded claims on the potential of such alternative biofuel crops led to large-scale investments, especially in jatropha (Jatropha curcas) monoculture plantations. Productivity and economic outcomes proved to be poor, however, which subsequently led to a global downturn in research and investment, leaving the potential of other species and approaches unexplored. In Chapter 1, we hypothesize that agroforestry-based approaches that carefully integrate a mix of native biofuel tree species into the existing farming system, offer unique opportunities in comparison with jatropha monocultures, including limited risk, increased by-product valorization, and expanded ecosystem services provision.