Potential Impacts of Biofuel Development on Biodiversity in Chobe District, Botswana
There is a need to use cleared idle agricultural land for biofuel production in order to avoid adverse impacts on food security and biodiversity. This chapter examines the potential impacts of biofuel development on biodiversity in Chobe District, Botswana, using literature review and stakeholder interviews. The stakeholders interviewed confirmed that there are significant areas of idle agricultural land available in the district, but most of it is not cleared. Therefore, the production of biofuels in Chobe District may on the one hand negatively affect biodiversity through the clearing of new land, but on the other hand it may not adversely affect food security since idle agricultural land will be used. The use of marginal land for biofuel production may also harm biodiversity (plant and animal species). This chapter shows that the use of jatropha and sweet sorghum for biofuel production is likely to have a lower impact on biodiversity compared to corn. In conclusion, research on biology, chemistry as well as agronomic aspects of energy crops should be undertaken prior to large-scale biofuel development in Botswana.