Thursday, July 18, 2019

Biofuel and Aquaculture Essay -- Biodiesel, Natural Resources, Environ

Biofuel and aquaculture are two of many industries that extract resources from ecological systems. For either corn-based biodiesel or finfish farming, the production process acquires feedstock from energy-fixing ecological systems such as farm fields and oceans. In cases such as intensified salmon farming, large amount of supplement is applied including fish meal and fish oil obtained from other ecological systems such as wild ocean (Naylor et al, 2000). For residue-derived biofuel and shellfish agriculture, energy input from external ecosystems, although relatively small, is still necessary to meet the energy needs. These intricately linked ties of interaction determine that impacts of resource utilization shall diffuse to related systems at different scales. Some people trumpet the expansion of either industry. They claim that both industries are socially benign in such way that biofuel lessens dependence on fossil fuels and aquaculture contributes to alleviate world hunger problem. On environmental grounds, residue-based biofuel can allegedly reduce carbon emission and shellfish can improve water quality by removing nitrogen that is more than needed. However, notwithstanding those seemingly strong arguments on larger scale, it is also to be noted that local communities are paying high prices for the development of either industry when additional energy materials are included. Problems such as reduced land productivity and eutrophication are becoming more evident. Biofuel-initiated land conversion from natural forest to monoculture of corn entails huge ecological impacts and introduced exotic species in aquaculture threatens the genetic integrity of native wild species (GESAMP, 2008). When people are trying to resolve thes... ... is by no means stable. Once broader economic situation suffers turmoil as it happened around 2008 and the demand for biofuel plunges, benefit can hardly be kept uncompromised. On the other hand, research up to date still cannot address the ecological interactions specifically on every local scale (McKindsey, 2006). In bivalve aquaculture, the ability of shellfish to filter out particles and purify water is subject to phytoplankton population growth and seasonal variation (Dumbauld, 2009), obscuring the evaluation accuracy of this ecological benefit or cost. These realities add to the uncertainties in assessment and form risks in making decisions about particular resource extraction activities. To minimize those uncertainties, more researches are needed as to establish the solid scientific grounds upon which to conduct case-by-case local benefit and cost analysis.

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