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Bioenergy Conflict in China


1 Background information

1.1  Generic information about the conflict

There is a conflict between enlarging bioenergy plants area and guaranteeing food crops land area. China has large energy demand, while bioenergy plants land is limited. Bioenergy land area in China is 77.421×104hm2[1]. Figure 1 shows land use status in 2007 of China[2]. Dafang Zhuang’s study indicated that total area of marginal land exploitable for development of energy plants on a large scale was about 43.75×106 hm[2]. If 10% of this marginal land was fully utilized for growing the energy plants, the production of bio-fuel would be 13.39×106 t[3]. If this conflict can be solved well, China’s bioenergy potential can be explored.



Figure 1 Land use status in 2007 in China[2]



1.2 Conflict type

The conflict between land use and bioenergy.


1.3 Resources involved:

Forest lands, farm lands, bioenergy forests, bioenergy crops, food crops. The sixth National Forest Resources General Investigation showed that 1.75×108 hm2 of forest and 1.25 ×1010 m3 of growing stock are in existence in China, and 2.8×108–3.0 ×108 t of biomass resources can be supplied during the production process[4].Table 1 shows amount of forest biomass resource in China[4].

Table 1 Amount of forest biomass resource in China[4]

 Assignment 3-Xiaoqian Xu.docx


Evaluation of the conflict

2.1 Main Issues and descriptions: Information about the consequences

Land owners profits will be effect if they cannot get enough money from bioenergy lands. Food supply chains will be influenced as well. If  policy makers cannot make suitable policies to balance land uses, people will lose the confidence of bioenergy. For example, in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, sugarcane and manihot area was 110.18×104hm2 in 2007[1]. While in 2000, the area was only 77.3×104hm2[1]. As the respect of crops land area, the percentage of sugarcane and manihot increased from 12.35% to 19.65%[1]. But the percentage of food crops declined from 58.39% to 53.34%[1]. It means bioenergy land area will influence the food area.


2.2 Main stakeholders involved

Main stakeholders are land owners, policy makers, bioenergy producers.

Land owners can offer places for bioenergy plants to grow. Policy makers can help both land owners and producer make profits, they can promote bioenergy development as well. Bioenergy producers can offer the public renewable energy.

2.3 Analysis of the stakeholders values and interests

Land owners want to earn more money by their lands. Policy makers want to encourage the public use bioenergy products and enlarge bioenergy land area. Bioenergy producers’ profits will be influenced by forest land owners’ and policy makers’ decisions.

2.4 Evaluation of the intensity of the conflict

This conflict will be more and more intensive in recent 10 years[1]. Because high profit of bioenergy plants, bioenergy plants area is increasing. China have eslablished policies about banning using food crops to produce bioenergy.


2.5 Evaluation of the possible causes of the

The most important reason is limited land area. Large population and prices of bioenergy and food will influence this conflict as well.


2.6 Main elements that may preclude conflict resolution

The two main barriers in this conflict are limited land areas and farmers’ profits.


2.7 Main elements that may encourage conflict escalation

Land areas arrangement, subsidies, bioenergy plants species may encourage conflict escalation. If land owners dissatisfied with their bioenergy land areas arrangement and subsidies, they will despair with bioenergy. Different bioenergy plants will provide different profits. In case stakeholders cannot get enough profits, plants should be site-specific.


3 Keywords and identifiers of the conflict

Bioenergy, land area, policy, profit, China, food.


4 References

[1]Yuqi Chen, Xiubin Li, Yan Sheng, Wen Zhang. Land Use Changes Caused by Biofuels[J]. Journal of Natural Resources.2010.25(9):1496-1505.

[2] Yishui Tian, Lixin Zhao, Haibo Meng, Liying Sun, Jinyue Yan. Estimation of un-used land potential for biofuels development in (the) People’s Republic of China [J]. Applied Energy. 2009.86(1):S77-S85.

[3]Dafang Zhuang, Dong Jiang, Lei Liu, Yaohuan Huang. Assessment of bioenergy potential on marginal land in China[J]. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 2011.15(2):1050-1056.

[4] Peidong Zhang, Yanli Yang, Yongsheng Tian, Xutong Yang ,Yongkai Zhang, Yonghong Zheng, Lisheng Wang. Bioenergy industries development in China: Dilemma and solution[J]. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 2009.13(9):2571-2579.