Ecology and Environment Briefing

The Two Questions;

  1. The Question of Sustainable Biofuels Production
  2. The Question of Limiting the Influence of Invasive Alien Species

Definition –Biofuels, in the form of liquid fuels derived from plant materials, are entering the market, driven by factors such as oil price spikes and the need for increased energy security

The key message being that they have to be ‘’Sustainable’’- so that they can be relied upon for a long period of time in an eco-friendly fashion.

The point of Biofuels is to find a solution to the ever growing problem of running out of fossil fuels e.g oil,coal. Biofuels offer an alternative energy source in order to power our daily lives in ‘’greener’’ fashion; however, the effort taken in order for this power to work is unbalanced to the amount of power produced, normally weak and not enough to power the nation or dependant on the elements e.g solar,wind energy, which is a problem that is not apparent with oil. Therefore it is a problem to completely cut off the fossil fuel energy resource that we have because techniques for sustainable biofuels have not been finalised I order to replace it on such a large scale. Therefore it is imperative for new techniques to be created or old methods to be strengthened in order to find unfaltering green energy sources, that can collaborate together to produce enough energy for the population.

Governments are keen to support ‘‘Biofuel Production’’ and research into finding alternative energy sources because the price of Oil is now escalating due to the Economic hardship of the world and it is becoming more difficult for countries to import large amounts of fossil fuels e.g Oil, for at a reasonable price, this is known as ‘’Oil price spikes’’. Also, if it was possible to completely eradicate the need for oil or other fossil fuels then it could damage other countries’ economies and trading, for example Saudi Arabia’s primary export is oil, therefore it would cause huge problems for the country in world trading – a matter which needs to be handled delicately.

Examples of Biofuels; Ethanol, Biodiesel, (currently produced from the products of conventional food crops such as the starch, sugar and oil feedstocks from crops that include wheat, maize, sugar cane, palm oil and rape seedoil), sugar cane in Brazil (Big industry).

The Question of Limiting the Influence of Invasive Alien Species;

Invasive Alien Species are ‘’Biological invasions’’ that can be human-assisted or sometimes unintentionally created as humans introduce non-indigenous species into the ecosystem. Some species can help to either restore the ecosystem or can be used to aid research but when the species becomes ‘’Invasive’’ it highlights that the uncommon species is beginning to damage the biodiversity of the area.

Biotic invasion is considered one of the five top drivers for global biodiversity loss and is increasing because of tourism and globalization. This may be particularly true in inadequately regulated fresh water systems, though quarantines and ballast water rules have improved the situation.

Invasive species may drive local native species to extinction via competitive exclusion, niche displacement, or hybridisation with related native species. Therefore, besides their economic ramifications, alien invasions may result in extensive changes in the structure, composition and global distribution of the biota of sites of introduction, leading ultimately to the homogenisation of the world’s fauna and flora and the loss of biodiversity.

However, it is difficult to clearly attribute extinctions to a species invasion, and the few scientific studies that have done so have been with animal taxa. Concern over the impacts of invasive species on biodiversity must therefore consider the actual evidence (either ecological or economic), in relation to the potential risk.

Ways to prevent species becoming invasive can be discussed and positions regarding certain programmes which involve terminating the invasive species may be against your country’s views. Also close research and attention to these ‘’infected’’ areas would also be beneficial to stop the invasive species spreading or causing any more damage. The invasive species tend to compete with the native biodiversity of the region due to certain traits and characteristics making it hard for other species to survive.

Some scientists feel that to safely neutralise the trouble in these areas is to add in another specie that will counter-act in accordance to the ‘’Invasive Alien Specie’’ and thus can be used at low densities.