Workshop: Land for biomass, energy and other non-food services in the EU

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Event description
Online discussion to exchange views on the main results and recommendations of a recent study for the European Commission (DG ENER).

About this event

You are invited to participate in an online workshop titled “Land availability for biomass, energy and other non-food services in the EU” taking place on 18 November 2020 from 9.30-12.00 CET.

The workshop will explore where non-food crops could be grown in Europe in future. Current policy seeks to steer these crops to abandoned or degraded land, but do we know how much is available and where it is? And how suitable might this land be in practice?

The Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), Wageningen University & Research and Navigant invite you to discuss these topics with the European Commission, Member State experts and stakeholders in light of the findings of a recent study for the European Commission DG ENER.

This study has sought to identify the scale of land that is currently not used for agricultural production in the EU (excluding forest areas) and has the potential to be used for biomass cropping where this can be done sustainably. Taking into account the drivers of land moving out of agricultural production, it reflects on the role of policy in supporting, maintaining or bringing back land into agricultural production and the extent to which policy is required to incentivise its use for non-food purposes.The study has drawn on the latest statistical and scientific data available, a review of the available literature, nine case studies in areas facing issues of land-abandonment, and three thematic case studies of types of non-agricultural land with the potential to be used for biomass cropping for energy and other non-food uses.


The ambition to move towards a more circular and bio-based economy in the EU is leading to increased demand for biomass to replace non-renewable with renewable resources for the production of bio-based materials, chemicals and energy. The ambitions in the Green Deal for a circular bioeconomy must be carefully reconciled with other policy goals such as the transition towards more sustainable agricultural management, land use, biodiversity conservation and climate mitigation, while also ensuring that there are sufficient food, jobs and income. Using sustainably produced biomass grown on agricultural land for energy or other non-food purposes is therefore of great interest in the transition to a more circular bioeconomy. However, to avoid putting additional pressure on agricultural land and competing with food production, it is preferable to grow these crops on land that is under-used or has become abandoned and/or degraded as long as this can be done sustainably.

If you wish to participate in this event, please register on this page.

We look forward to your participation!


9.30 – 9.40

  • Welcome and introduction

9.40 – 10.30

  • Presentation of the key findings and recommendations of the study - Analysis of actual land availability in the EU: trends in changes (abandoned land, low fertility land, saline land, etc.) and options for energy crop utilisation
  • Q&A

10.30 – 11.10

  • Presentation of the situation in three case-study Member States
  • Q&A

11.10 – 11.55

  • Panel session to reflect on the findings of the study and discuss the implications for the sustainable land use and the role for policy
  • Followed by a plenary discussion

11.55 – 12.00

  • Conclusions and wrap-up

Please note that this event will be recorded. By registering to the event, you give us permission to use your image should it appear in the recording. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact us at

Date and time


Online event

Organizer Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)

Organizer of Workshop: Land for biomass, energy and other non-food services in the EU

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