Which is the better use for a plot of land: growing crops to feed nations or growing crops to power them with biofuel? The answer to this question is, perhaps not surprisingly, complex and turns on the definition of “surplus” land, or idle, marginal spaces. Now, an interdisciplinary group of researchers from Europe and the US has decided to nail these concepts.

Despite the heated “food versus fuel” debates, researchers noted that there is no common language or guidelines that brings together this emerging field. Moreover, no one seemed to agree on what, exactly, defines surplus land.

There is no clear-cut definition of “surplus” land


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