Report says wildlife negatively affected by corn ethanol crops

by Antonio Pasolini on February 8, 2010

National Wildlife Federation
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A new report by National Wildlife Federation exposes a very undesirable consequence of corn biofuel production. The report says that wildlife in the Prairie Pothole Region is suffering from the ever expanding production of corn ethanol, which, thanks to government incentives, is driving farmers to convert land into corn production. As a consequence, grassland bird populations are decreasing rapidly.

The study analyzed the impact of corn ethanol production on wildlife and habit in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The report says U.S. ethanol capacity has grown almost 200 percent and with the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) 15-billion gallon requirement for 2015, production is set to increase and so will habitat and wildlife destruction.

“Oftentimes these incentives are redundant, driving market demand for corn ethanol and putting undue pressure on the land,” said Julie Sibbing, director of global warming, agriculture and wildlife at the National Wildlife Federation. “The system makes it hard for farmers to resist converting native grassland into cropland or to keep their land in the Conservation Reserve Program.”

In order to prevent further environmental degradation, the study recommends a change in government mandates and financial support for ethanol; protection of prairies and wetlands from conversion; strengthening of the Conversation Reserve Program (CRP) and additional research.

To read the full report, go here.

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