13 Aug 2009:
Non-food Biofuel Sources
Pose Risks as Runaway Weeds, Panel Says
A federal advisory panel has warned that some grasses and weed-like plants now being considered as possible sources of biofuel pose the risk of spreading widely and causing major economic damage as invasive species
. The Invasive Species Advisory Committee said that the very properties that make the plants appealing candidates for biofuel production — they can grow year-round and need less water, fertilizer, and agricultural land — also make them prime candidates to become harmful invasive species, such as the runaway vine, kudzu. Among the biofuel species with potential to spread out of control are a giant reed, Arundo donax
, which grows in clumps up to 20 feet tall and is classified as a noxious weed in California and Texas, and plants such as miscanthus and reed canary grass. The panel said that some potential sources of biofuel, such as switchgrass, posed far less danger and recommended that agencies carefully study possible biofuel species before allowing their cultivation in different regions.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our feed:
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.