||Bioenergy production—either for fuels or electricity—is the most
land intensive form of energy production. The consequences
of increased demand for land associated with bioenergy crops initially
gained attention because of the implications for carbon emissions associated with land clearing, but, more recently, the potential impacts of bioenergy’s land demand on biodiversity have gained
increased attention. The study by Meehan et al. in PNAS provides a
quantitative look at predicted landscapescale biodiversity impacts under alternative bioenergy cropping scenarios. Specifically,
the authors predict impacts of either greatly expanded row crops or greatly expanded perennial grasses for bird communities in the Upper Midwest, making use of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data to correlate bird species richness with landscape features at 265 sites
across seven upper Midwestern states (Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio).