Biofuel production and use in Africa have been linked to numerous environmental and socio-economic impacts such as GHG/atmospheric pollutant emissions, increased water use, water pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, biodiversity loss, income/employment generation, energy security, food security, human health and social conflicts. Whether these impacts are positive or negative depends on a multitude of factors such as the feedstock, the environmental/socio-economic context of biofuel production, and the policy instruments in place during biofuel production, use and trade.
In this report we discuss a wide array of these impacts, as they relate to jatropha biodiesel and sugarcane ethanol in Africa. A major challenge for obtaining a comprehensive picture of biofuel tradeoffs is the fact that the biofuel literature is multidisciplinary and rapidly expanding. This report employs the ecosystem services framework developed during the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), as a means of synthesizing the available evidence about biofuel impacts and identifying the main trade-offs associated with biofuels in Africa.