Bioenergy and land tenure: the implications of biofuels for land tenure and land policy

Recent years have witnessed a rapid and accelerating expansion of bioethanol and biodiesel production. This expansion is driven by government targets for biofuel substitution in energy budgets for transport, driven in turn by concerns about high oil prices, prospects for rural development, export opportunities and means to mitigate climate change. Projections suggest that biofuel production is likely to continue expanding in the coming years. Parallel to these developments, the policy debate about the merits and demerits of biofuels is growing and changing rapidly. Important concerns such as the ability of biofuels to mitigate climate change effectively, the role of biofuels in the recent food price hikes, and the social and environmental impacts of biofuels have been voiced in policy circles as well as in the media and in public opinion at large. This study contributes to these debates through examining the current and likely future impacts of the increasing spread of biofuels on access to land in producer countries, particularly for poorer rural people.