Agrofuels and Socio-Ecological Conflicts

DOC-team: Alina Brad, Christina Plank, Anke Schaffartzik

Causing Ignition: Agrofuels and Socio-Ecological Conflicts

Agrofuels have been promoted as a solution to the multiple global crisis of rising energy prices, climate change, and economic downturn. Internationally, economic powers such as the EU, the USA, Brazil, China, and India are determined to expand and develop the use of agrofuels. Mandatory blending to motor fuels, most notably in the European Union, has created a strong demand for agrofuels resulting in the emergence of a growing global market. Due to its strong impact on land use the production of agrofuels is directly linked to cultural, ecological, economic, political, as well as social change.

The two countries examined in our project, Indonesia and the Ukraine, are representatives of two distinct regions in the world, Southeast Asia and Central and Eastern Europe, and of two distinct phases in agrofuel production. They are therefore of particular interest in understanding the dynamics of agrofuel production. Moreover, the global development of trade in agrofuels is directly linked to the potential of conflicts at the local level. In order to fully explore the relationship between agrofuel production and socio-ecological conflicts, we jointly explore the following question:

How does agrofuel production alter the relationship between society and nature at global, national, and local level? To which conflicts do these changes lead?

We analyze the relationship between agrofuel production and socio-ecological conflicts not only from an interdisciplinary perspective but also at different functional and spatial scales. This enables us to consider the power relations at the local, regional and global level into which the development of agrofuel production is embedded.