Global biofuel production and land use/calories available

February 11, 2015

"There are very few studies available that attempt to evaluate the amount of lands currently mobilized
worldwide for biofuel production. This is due to the absence of any international reporting mechanism
whereby countries provide data on land used for biofuel (either for domestic use or for exportation), or
even production and consumption. Using results of typical biofuel yields from Table 1 in Chapter 2, a production of 100 billion litres (a number close to the current global biofuel demand) would represent an equivalent of 20.4 million ha of sugar cane, or 38.5 million ha of corn, or, if it were biodiesel, 58.8 million ha of rapeseed. Those numbers compare with the 1 396 million ha of arable lands worldwide in 2011 (FAOSTAT, 2013)." (HLPE,82)

"This leads to the conjecture that today’s biofuel production probably mobilizes around 2–3 percent of arable lands globally." (HLPE,82)
"In its 2011 report, the partners of the Land Portal concluded that between one-third and two-thirds of all land investments were biofuel-related. Since 2000, 1 217 transactions have been registered involving over 83 million ha, corresponding to 1.7 percent of total agricultural land. Africa is the principal target with 754 transactions accounting for 56.2 million ha, which equals 4.8 percent of the continent’s total agricultural land, an area equivalent to Kenya." (HLPE, 84)


High Level Panel of Experts, "Biofuels and food security," FAO, June 2013.
Cassidy et al., "Redefining agricultural yields: from tonnes to people nourished per hectare," Environmental Research Letters, 2013; 8 (3).



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