It has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect ecosystems and secure livelihoods for rural communities – if developed sustainably.

Bioenergy from plants with oil-producing seeds or wood that can be converted to biomass energy has the potential to produce clean energy, secure rural livelihoods and restore degraded lands, helping countries achieve their Paris Agreement targets. Bioenergy can also strengthen the economic incentive for private sector and community groups to undertake restoration efforts. But if not carefully managed, it could displace food crops or promote land-clearing.

CIFOR-ICRAF has been working on biofuels, particularly woodfuel such as charcoal and firewood production in Africa, as well as bioenergy species for landscape restoration in Southeast Asia. In collaboration with partners in research, capacity development and policy development, we have developed integrative technologies and synthesized information to support the policy and practice of bioenergy development in developing countries. We are analyzing the climate benefits and disadvantages of bioenergy policies and practices under current and plausible future scenarios.

We see bioenergy as part of a comprehensive approach that considers energy poverty, health, climate change, and food and nutritional security through diverse production systems involving forest landscapes. We are also studying social and gender dynamics and outcomes along woodfuel value chains, from production through to consumption.

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