Birds and bioenergy within the americas: A cross‐national, social–ecological study of ecosystem service tradeoffs

Jessie L. Knowlton, Kathleen E. Halvorsen, David J. Flaspohler, Christopher R. Webster, Jesse Abrams, Sara M. Almeida, Stefan L. Arriaga‐weiss, Brad Barnett, Maíra R. Cardoso, Pablo V. Cerqueira, Diana Córdoba, Marcos Persio Dantas‐santos, Jennifer L. Dunn, Amarella Eastmond, Gina M. Jarvi, Julian A. Licata, Ena Mata‐zayas, Rodrigo Medeiros, M. Azahara Mesa‐Jurado, Lízbeth Yamily Moo‐culebroCassandra Moseley, Erik Nielsen, Colin C. Phifer, Erin C. Pischke, Chelsea Schelly, Theresa Selfa, Chelsea A. Silva, Tatiana Souza, Samuel R. Sweitz, César J. Vázquez‐navarrete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although renewable energy holds great promise in mitigating climate change, there are socioeconomic and ecological tradeoffs related to each form of renewable energy. Forest‐related bioenergy is especially controversial, because tree plantations often replace land that could be used to grow food crops and can have negative impacts on biodiversity. In this study, we examined public perceptions and ecosystem service tradeoffs between the provisioning services associated with cover types associated with bioenergy crop (feedstock) production and forest habitat‐related supporting services for birds, which themselves provide cultural and regulating services. We combined a social survey‐based assessment of local values and perceptions with measures of bioenergy feedstock production impacts on bird habitat in four countries: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the USA. Respondents in all countries rated birds as important or very important (83–99% of respondents) and showed lower enthusiasm for, but still supported, the expansion of bioenergy feedstocks (48–60% of respondents). Bioenergy feedstock cover types in Brazil and Argentina had the greatest negative impact on birds but had a positive impact on birds in the USA. In Brazil and Mexico, public perceptions aligned fairly well with the realities of the impacts of potential bioenergy feedstocks on bird communities. However, in Argentina and the USA, perceptions of bioenergy impacts on birds did not match well with the data. Understanding people’s values and perceptions can help inform better policy and management decisions regarding land use changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number258
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Aspen
  • Biodiversity
  • Elaeis guineensis
  • Eucalyptus
  • Land use change
  • Oil palm
  • Populus
  • Public perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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