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8 Sep 06
Biofuels Growth Seen Posing Threat to Wild Birds
WESTON-SUPER-MARE, England - A rapid rise in biofuels production in Europe poses a potential threat to some wild birds, Mark Avery, director of conservation for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said on Thursday.
Avery noted that the crops used for biofuels production could be grown on land currently designated as "set aside" which had proved an excellent habitat for wild birds.
The European Union, faced with growing surpluses of agricultural commodities, took some land out of production, a move that was "very positive for wildlife," Avery noted. "It does worry us a bit (that the land may be used to grow crops to make biofuels)," he told a conference organised by the Renewable Energy Association.
Production of biofuels, which are seen as a way of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, is rising sharply in the EU, leading to increased demand for crops such as oilseeds and grains which are used to make them.
Avery said he was also concerned that production of crops such as palm oil and soybeans could be expanded, possibly at the expense of natural habitats.
"There are some issues about how green you are able to claim your industry is," Avery told conference participants.
Avery said, however, that the biofuels sector was "generally an environmentally positive industry."
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