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Agriculture, biofuels and watersheds in the waterenergy- food nexus: governance challenges at local and global scales

Mwale, Joseph T., Mirzabaev, Alisher
Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems 2015 v.2 no.1 pp. 3
agricultural land, arable soils, biofuels, ecosystem services, energy costs, energy crops, females, food availability, food crops, fuel production, governance, greenhouse gas emissions, land use, poverty, quantitative analysis, social environment, watersheds
Agricultural land use in watersheds for food and biofuels production presents several challenges within the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus at the local and global scales. Firstly, high global energy prices may lead to increasing demand for bio-energy crops, thereby intensifying the competition for arable land and water with food crops. There may be potential net welfare benefits from bio-energy development in terms of poverty reduction, higher agricultural household incomes, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. However, so far, there has been little quantitative research evaluating and communicating the nexus synergies and trade-offs. Another challenge is that differentiation of gender roles in the nexus trade-offs and synergies is mostly overlooked. This results in marginalisation of mostly the female gender in land use decisions. Therefore, there is a need for quantitative evidence-based research and incentive frameworks for governing the nexus to ensure the continuity and progress in global and local food supply and bio-energy development, while maintaining the sustainability of the watershed ecological services.