Crop Biotech Update

Study Analyzes Marginal Land for Biofuel Production

January 14, 2011

University of Illinois professor Ximing Cai and graduate student Xiao Zhang performed a global analysis of marginal land that could be used to produce biofuel crops. To address the debate that biofuels compete with the land used for food crops, they computed marginal land, which are those with low inherent productivity and cannot be used for planting food crops. Results of their analysis showed that if biofuel crops would be planted on these available marginal land areas, then half of the world's current fuel consumption will be produced.

"We hope this will provide a physical basis for future research," Cai said. "For example, agricultural economists could use the dataset to do some research with the impact of institutions, community acceptance and so on, or some impact on the market. We want to provide a start so others can use our research data."