Bioenergy at the confluence of ecosystem services, energy security, food security and poverty alleviation in southern Africa
This project linked previous ESPA research findings on the multiple trade-offs of bioenergy value chains in southern Africa. Key findings from this research suggested that different bioenergy value chains have radically different effects on ecosystem services, and constituents of human wellbeing and poverty alleviation. To an extent, this is contrary to common practice/policy discourses in the region, which tend to view bioenergy either as a panacea to solve Africa’s energy security and poverty alleviation problems, or as a scourge of food security and local ecosystems. Often these polarised reactions stem from the vested interests of stakeholders involved in bioenergy value chains, and are fuelled through the use of selective information. The aim of this project was to disseminate key findings about the trade-offs of bioenergy at the interface of ecosystem services, energy security, food security and poverty alleviation to different stakeholders regionally, nationally and locally. This was achieved through a series of workshops targeting local communities, policy-makers, international organisations, NGOs and practitioners from the private sector among others.