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Why not harvest existing invaders for bioethanol?


Some ecologists and environmentalists have asked whether existing plant invaders could be used as sources of lignocellulosic ethanol, as an alternative to the introduction of potentially invasive non-native energy crops. Although the idea is tempting and could theoretically motivate the control or eradication of large invasive populations, we recognize that a number of major economic, logistic, and legal barriers currently prevent adoption of this plan. Here, we enumerate these barriers in detail, but conclude with an idealistic vision for the role of invasive biomass in the bioenergy industry.

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We acknowledge and thank James S.N. McCubbins and Elise C. Scott for their intellectual contributions toward this concept, and members of the Sustainable Bioenergy Network for stimulating discussions on the topic. This work was funded by the Energy Biosciences Institute.

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Correspondence to Lauren D. Quinn.

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Quinn, L.D., Endres, A.B. & Voigt, T.B. Why not harvest existing invaders for bioethanol?. Biol Invasions 16, 1559–1566 (2014).

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  • Bioenergy
  • Biofuel
  • Biomass
  • Biorefinery
  • Ethanol
  • Invasive
  • Weed