Biodiesel produced from woody oil plants is a promising form of renewable energy but a combination of tree plantations’ long cultivation time and rapid climate change may put large-scale production at risk. If plantations are located in future-unsuitable places, plantations may fail or yield may be poor, then significant financial, labor, and land resources invested in planting programs will be wasted. Incorporating climate change information into the planning and management of forest-based biodiesel production therefore can increase its chances of success. However, species distribution models, the main tool used to predict the influence of future climate–species distribution modeling, often contain considerable uncertainties. In this study we evaluated how these uncertainties could affect the assessment of climate suitability of the long-term development plans for forest-based biodiesel in China by using Sapindus mukorossi
Gaertn as an example. The results showed that only between 59% and 75% of the planned growing areas were projected suitable habitats for the species, depending on the set-up of simulation. Our results showed the necessity for explicitly addressing the uncertainty of species distribution modeling when using it to inform forest-based bioenergy planning. We also recommend the growing area specified in China’s national development plan be modified to lower the risk associated with climate change.
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