Consultant report

Data sources to support land suitability assessments for bioenergy feedstocks in the EU: A review

As part of the European Climate Foundation’s Biofrontiers project, the Institute for European Environmental Policy was asked to undertake a review of the availability of data on European land use, and to assess whether it would be possible in principle to use available data at the national or European level to come to a firm conclusion about the potential for biomass cropping in Europe or in parts of Europe. The ICCT fuels team guided the project.

This report, which is the outcome of that review by IEEP, begins with an introduction to land use and cover data and its interpretation. It then considers the principal sources of data available at the EU level and in three selected Member States (France, Italy and the Czech Republic). A discussion of the nature, availability, and utility of data in this sphere of land use is provided.

The study provides an initial broad assessment of the potential for identifying the presence of land that might be suitable for dedicated biomass feedstock production, by using sources of land use or land type data that are available already. Such data has been collected for other purposes at various spatial scales but is not prepared or presented in a uniform way in the EU. The assessment exercise therefore involves the characterisation of these data sources, many of which are available in map form. It includes clarification of their primary purpose and the information they provide and then examination of how they contribute to the identification of land potentially suitable for biomass production.

The study concludes that current data availability is inadequate to undertake a detailed national or European level study of land areas that are under-utilized and could be considered available for bioenergy production.

Staff contacts: Chris Malins, Stephanie Searle

Alternative fuels