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Review of the impacts on soils of land-use changes induced by non-food biomass production

Bessou C.. 2018. In : Réchauchère Olivier (ed.), Bispo Antonio (ed.), Gabrielle Benoît (ed.), Makowski David (ed.). Sustainable agriculture reviews 30: Environmental impact of land use change in agricultural systems. Cham : Springer, p. 79-125. (Sustanaible Agriculture Reviews, 30).

Over the past decade, the exponential growth in the production of bio-mass for energy use has raised concerns as to the environmental impacts of this type of land use, as well as the potential land-use changes (LUC) associated with an extension of agricultural land areas. Determining the environmental impacts of an expanding bioenergy sector requires reconstructing the chains of cause and effect from the determinants of land-use change (both direct and indirect) and land-use practices through to the impacts of those practices. Conducting an exhaustive litera-ture review from 1975 to 2014, we identified 241 articles relevant to this causal chain, thus enabling an analysis of the environmental impacts of LUC for bioenergy. This chapter presents the results of a detailed literature analysis and literature review of the 52 articles within this corpus specifically addressing impacts on soils. The variation in soil organic carbon (SOC) is the most commonly used impact indicator, followed by soil loss to erosion and, to a lesser extent, the potential for environmen-tal acidification as determined by life-cycle assessments. Background and transi-tional SOC levels during LUC affect the predictive value of estimated final SOC variations but are not generally accounted for in default static stock-difference approaches. Perennial crops tend to be better at maintaining or even improving SOC levels, but results vary according to pedoclimatic and agronomic conditions. The mechanisms involved notably include protection of the soil surface with a dense perennial cover and the limitation of tillage operations, especially deep plowing; accumulation of organic matter and SOC linked to biomass production, especially belowground production of rhizomes and deep, dense root systems; associated reductions in nutrient loss via runoff and erosion. Nevertheless, additional research is needed to improve our understanding of and ability to model the full range of processes underlying soil quality and LUC impacts on soil quality.

Mots-clés : Évaluation de l'impact; impact sur l'environnement; analyse du cycle de vie; carbone; matière organique du sol; bioénergie; biomasse; utilisation des terres; monde

Thématique : Sciences et aménagement du sol; Chimie et physique du sol; Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières; Documentation et information

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