In January 2008 the IAVS Executive Committee approved the first formal public Resolution of IAVS. This adoption grew out of a discussion in the Council and General Assembly meetings in Swansea in 2007, and the Executive Committee and Council anticipate adopting future Resolutions as a particularly effective way to honor the aim of the Association articulated in the statutes to 'increase awareness and to disseminate knowledge about vegetation.'
The first resolution addresses biofuels, and Mike Palmer of Oklahoma State University prepared the rationale for the IAVS Resolution. "There are few regions of the world that are not experiencing the effects of an increased demand for biofuel production. In many cases, this is resulting in an intensification of agriculture. In others, it is accelerating the loss of natural vegetation. As vegetation scientists, we need to be aware that many of the systems we study are threatened. On a more positive note, our expertise on the productive capacity of vegetation is directly relevant for the science of biofuels - although the intellectual capacity of our discipline has not yet been tapped. The proposed resolution is a statement that we recognize the concern, and that vegetation scientists have a potentially important role to play during these crucial times for our biosphere."
IAVS Resolution on Biofuels
January 11, 2008
• Over the past few years, concern about global climate change and energy security has dramatically increased interest in biomass‐derived energy,
• Almost all attention on biomass‐derived energy has been focused on High‐Input, Low‐Diversity (HILD) systems, which have questionable sustainability and are susceptible to disease and crop failure,
• Low‐Input, High‐Diversity (LIHD) systems have not been explored as a source of biomass for energy, despite their possible advantages for global carbon balance,
• In some regions, LIHD systems have potential additional value for sustainability, plant and animal biodiversity, nature conservation, honey production, aesthetics, erosion control, and other benefits,
• Vegetation scientists have particular expertise on the productivity and sustainability of vegetation‐ derived biomass, and are thus especially qualified for addressing fundamental issues associated with biofuel production,
• Expenditures for Scientific Research on biofuels have expanded dramatically, but not for vegetation science,
• Increased production of HILD crops is threatening natural vegetation worldwide, and much of this vegetation is of high conservation value or provides valuable ecosystem services,
Therefore be it resolved that:
• We, the International Association for Vegetation Science, call upon scientific funding agencies to increase funding for basic and applied vegetation science,
• We call upon industry, government, and other institutions to avoid a strictly crop‐based approach, and to consider LIHD production where appropriate,
• We call upon our own membership to remain mindful and vigilant that many of the natural communities we value and study may come under threat from strong pressure for HILD developments,
• We call upon our own membership to consider how its expertise can be used and mobilized to contribute to a global research program, in which alternatives to HILD are explored,
• And we call upon our own membership to communicate a balanced view of biomass‐based fuels with stakeholders, including threats and opportunities associated with leading opportunities.