The impact of biofuel poplar cultivation on ground-level ozone and premature human mortality depends on cultivar selection and planting location

Ashworth, Kirsti and Wild, Oliver and Eller, A.S.D. and Hewitt, C. N. (2015) The impact of biofuel poplar cultivation on ground-level ozone and premature human mortality depends on cultivar selection and planting location. Environmental Science and Technology, 49 (14). pp. 8566-8575. ISSN 0013-936X

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Abstract

Isoprene and other volatile organic compounds emitted from vegetation play a key role in governing the formation of ground-level ozone. Emission rates of such compounds depend critically on the plant species. Future land use change, driven by the cultivation of biofuel feedstocks, will change the distribution of plant species and hence the magnitude and distribution of emissions. Here we use relationships between biomass yield and isoprene emissions derived from experimental data for 29 commercially available poplar hybrids to assess the impact that the large-scale cultivation of poplar for use as a biofuel feedstock will have on air quality in Europe. We show that the increases in ground-level ozone across Europe will increase the number of premature deaths attributable to ozone pollution each year by up to 6%. Substantial crop losses (up to ~9 Mt y-1 of wheat and maize) are also projected. We further demonstrate that these impacts are strongly dependent on the location of the poplar plantations, due to the prevailing meteorology, the population density and the dominant crop type of the region. Our findings indicate the need for a concerted and centralized decision-making process that considers all aspects of future land use change in Europe, and not just the effect on greenhouse gas emissions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Environmental Science and Technology
Additional Information: This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Environmental Science and Technology, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b00266 Date of Acceptance: 21/06/2015
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1600
Subjects:
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 74447
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 29 Jun 2015 10:34
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2020 02:35
URI: https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/74447

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