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Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Melece, Ligita;Lakovskis, Peteris
Title: Impacts of bioenergy on agricultural land use changes in Latvia
Is part of: Economics and rural development, 2014, vol. 10, no. 1, p. 39-46
Date: 2014
Keywords: Agricultural land;Crop;Bioenergy;Region;Latvia
Abstract: The European Union (EU) legislative framework regarding bioenergy aims to ensure the use of sustainable biomass without negative impact on land use. Latvia has also developed the national policy and the support programmes which encourage increasing cultivation of energy plants for biomass feedstocks: 1) rapeseed production for biodiesel production; and 2) maize for silage as feedstock in the biogas production. The paper presents results of studies devoted to evaluation of bioenergy crops’ impact on usage changes of agricultural land in Latvia. The period of 2007-2012 was chosen for assessment of land use changes. Mainly data on declared utilised agricultural area on municipal and region level from the Rural Support Service were used in the research. The results show growing trends and share of areas of utilised agricultural area (UAA) which are used for bioenergy feedstocks production - rape and maize for silage. These areas are chiefly located in the territories/ regions (Zemgale and Kurzeme) which have the highest proportion of agricultural lands and the highest soil fertility in Latvia. The biogas plants are also located in these territories. Meanwhile, slight but decreasing tendency of the share of unused UAA in all regions, except Latgale, was observed. Moreover, the share in Latgale, the most undeveloped region, increases and it reached 18% in 2012. The observed agricultural land use changes in Latvia suggest some contradictions to bioenergy policy which is oriented to: returning the unused agricultural land in the production of feedstocks; and improving the quality of the environment, particularly, biodiversity and the landscape.
Appears in Collections:Economics and rural development 2014, vol. 10, no. 1

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