Published November 12, 2019 | Version V1
Project deliverable Open

D4.1 Low-input agricultural practices for industrial crops on marginal land


Bioeconomy is “the knowledge-based production and utilization of biological resources to provide products, processes and services in all sectors of trade and industry within the framework of a sustainable economic system” (German Bioeconomy Council, 2015). A growing bioeconomy involves the replacement of fossil by biogenic resources (or biomass) derived from plants, animals or microorganisms. According to the National Renewable Energy Action Plans of the European member states, about double the amount of biomass used for energetic purposes in the year 2012 will be required by 2020. In addition, it is expected that more than 80 million tons of bioproducts will be produced in 2020 (Scarlat et al., 2015) and potentially about 150 million tons of fossil-based products and chemicals could be replaced by biobased products. This indicates a substantial demand for additional biomass to fulfill the EU’s bioeconomy goals.

In the envisioned "ideal" bioeconomy, biomass production will take ecological, social and health aspects into consideration (Staffas et al., 2013). From the definitions and ambitions of the bioeconomy, it can be concluded that its growth will require a sufficient supply of sustainably produced biomass. According to (Scarlat et al., 2015), the potential risks arising from increased biomass production and supply in Europe are:

  • The move towards a bioeconomy based on natural resources from land and sea would lead to a large increase in the demand for biomass undermining the sustainability of a biobased economy.
  • Additional land use could lead to negative impacts from land-use change, such as biodiversity, soil carbon and soil fertility losses.
  • The need to increase crop productivity could lead to increased use of fertilizers and pesticides with additional problems related to water and soil pollution.
  • Additional pressure on water resources.
  • Increasing competition for resources between food supply and non-food biomass.

The MAGIC project has been established with the ambition of helping mitigate these risks. 



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MAGIC – Marginal lands for Growing Industrial Crops: Turning a burden into an opportunity 727698
European Commission