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Land is a scarce and contested resource: we need land as habitat and for different economic sectors, but also to preserve biodiversity and ensure that ecosystem services are available as a basis for human activity and livelihoods, including carbon sinks to help address climate change. Impacts can occur directly through land conversion, or indirectly by replacing a different kind of land use which will then encroach in natural areas that may provide ecosystem services.

Displacement effects can occur in the same country or region or beyond country boundaries. Carbon sink losses due to indirect land-use change (iLUC) due to bioenergy production have received heightened interest both by governments and the research community. Due to the difficulty of establishing a quantifiable direct causal link to a given project, mitigation of iLUC needs to be addressed on a national level; ideally by mapping all land use, not only that for bioenergy production.

In order to assess land availability for feedstock production for energy use from a national perspective, a data-based top-down approach can be pursued which is comple-mented with ground truthing in potential priority areas. To assess available suitable land for feedstock production, which does not generate significant competition with land for the production of food crops that contribute to food security, or convert land that provides a high degree of ecosystems services, or an area of biodiversity, the follow-ing steps can be taken (not necessarily in the following order):

Conduct a land suitability assessment to identify land that holds promise for feedstock production and map suitability and potential yield across the country.

Land suitability assessments identify areas of promise for bioenergy production within a country from a biophysical prospective based on geo-referenced data. Using the Suitability Assessment Model, two steps can be used to establish these areas (FAO Bioenergy and Food Security Project, 2009. Suitability Assessment Model for Bioenergy Crops – Module I). The first step is conducting a Land Resources Inventory, which synthesizes information on land resources, overlaying information and inventory of climatic resources, soil resources, and landform resources. The next step is implementing a Land Suitability Assessment which will assess specific feedstocks and production systems. Initially, in a Land Suitability Assess-

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