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    CUDe — Carbon utilization degree as an indicator for sustainable biomass use
    (Basel : MDPI, 2016) Anja Hansen, Anja Hansen; Budde, Jörn; Karatay, Yusuf Nadi; Prochnow, Annette
    Carbon (C) is a central element in organic compounds and is an indispensable resource for life. It is also an essential production factor in bio-based economies, where biomass serves many purposes, including energy generation and material production. Biomass conversion is a common case of transformation between different carbon-containing compounds. At each transformation step, C might be lost. To optimize the C use, the C flows from raw materials to end products must be understood. The estimation of how much of the initial C in the feedstock remains in consumable products and delivers services provides an indication of the C use efficiency. We define this concept as Carbon Utilization Degree (CUDe) and apply it to two biomass uses: biogas production and hemp insulation. CUDe increases when conversion processes are optimized, i.e., residues are harnessed and/or losses are minimized. We propose CUDe as a complementary approach for policy design to assess C as an asset for bio-based production. This may lead to a paradigm shift to see C as a resource that requires sustainable exploitation. It could complement the existing methods that focus solely on the climate impact of carbon.
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    Profitability of management systems on German fenlands
    (Basel : MDPI, 2016) Rebhann, Marco; Karatay, Yusuf Nadi; Filler, Günther; Prochnow, Annette
    Fens are organic sites that require drainage for agricultural use. Lowering the groundwater level leads to trade-offs between economic benefits and environmental impacts (i.e., CO2 and nutrient emissions). To identify management options that are both environmentally and economically sustainable, a propaedeutic systematic analysis of the costs, income and profit of different land use and management systems on fenlands is necessary. This study provides an overview of the profitability, labor demand and comparative advantages of feasible management systems on German fenlands. Twenty management practices in four land use systems are analyzed. The results indicate that most management systems are profitable only with subsidies and payments for ecosystem services. In addition to sales revenue, these payments are indispensable to promote peat-saving agricultural practices on fenlands. Regarding the labor aspect, intensive management systems caused an increase in working hours per hectare, which may positively affect employment in rural areas. The calculations obtained in this study can be used as a basis for estimations of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation costs when management systems are associated with GHG emission values.