According to a new research by Durham University Scientists, increasing bioenergy crop production of rapeseed and palm oil could be highly detrimental for biodiversity mainly due to climatic changes. UK species such as red squirrels and hedgehogs are potentially experiencing increasing death rates. Hedgehogs can decline by nearly 44%, red squirrels by 46% along with common starlings by 15%. Combination of large-scale increase of bioenergy crops and climatic changes together hold strong potential to threaten nearly 36% of habitats across the entire vertebrate species, inclusive of the ones that are currently subject to the substantial conservation work.
Bioenergy crops are considered as low-carbon alternatives to the fossil fuels; however, they could have a significant impact on the biodiversity to an extent similar as climatic changes. Bioenergy is considered a key element for mitigation of climate change; however, findings help in increasing awareness regarding the potential impact of bioenergy crops such as rapeseed and palm on biodiversity.
A recent study by Future Market Insights on the rapeseed oil market indicates that increasing negative impact of rapeseed on human and wildlife is possibly leading to modest growth of the global market and this trend is expected to continue into the next decade as well.
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Farmers Planning to Minimize Rapeseed Production
Rapeseed oil lacks sustainability. In order to maximize profitability and yield, farmers are increasing the usage of rapeseed oil in high applications of nitrogen fertilizers, out of which, most are washed off in rivers and groundwater by heavy rains. In addition, rapeseed is extremely vulnerable to a large number of diseases and pests that are usually treated by means of insecticides and fungicides. Several British farmers have been reporting significant losses in business due to rapeseed oil production.
Considering the above conditions, farmers are taking immense efforts in maximizing their incomes from wheat production by minimizing production of rapeseed to one year instead of five. Another reason for decline in rapeseed production is the ban on the usage of neonicotinoid insecticides, owing to their detrimental impact on pollinating insects as well as other wildlife. Conclusively, with limited production of rapeseed, levels of pest damage and disease can be decreased.
It has been observed that the value of rapeseed oil increases as it goes through the supply chain and turns out to be the packaged oil in supermarket shelves. With growing awareness regarding the advantages of cold-pressed rapeseed oil, companies such as Cotswold Gold are increasing the supply and availability of these products, which in turn helps them expand their customer base as well as gain a larger presence across the globe in the rapeseed oil market.