séminaire d'agroécologie

"Lessons from the UK farm scale evaluations of GM crops for biofuels" - Les Firbank - North Wyke Research - exceptionnellement le mardi 17 juin à 11h, salle des Conférences, INRA


One of the major drivers of the current expansion in bioenergy cropping is the aim to deliver environmental benefit by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. However, the cultivation of bioenergy and biofuel crops also affects biodiversity. Ecological risk assessment methods used for GM crops, especially the UK Farm Scale Evaluations, suggest how such risk assessments could be undertaken. However, a more holistic approach is needed for bioenergy crops, because of the need to assess potential benefits to biodiversity as well as harm, because the differences in biodiversity between bioenergy crops and other land uses are greater than those between GM and conventional varieties of the same crop, and because of potential ecological impacts distant from the site of cultivation. Risk assessments should address not simply changes to species abundance at field level, but include larger scale issues, including changes to landscape diversity, potential impacts to primary and secondary habitats globally and potential impacts on climate change. Such risk assessments require a correspondingly broad range of scientific methods, including modelling of climate and land use as well as observation of biodiversity and landscape indicators.  


Les Firbank
North Wyke Research,


Devon EX20 2SB

United Kingdom