This paper develops a method to explore how alternative scenarios of the expansion of maize production for biogas generation affect biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES). Our approach consists of four steps: (i) defining scenario targets and implementation of assumptions; (ii) simulating crop distributions across the landscape; (iii) assessing the ES impacts; and (iv) quantifying the impacts for a comparative trade-off analysis. The case study is the region of Hannover, Germany. One scenario assumes an increase of maize production in a little regulated governance system; two others reflect an increase of biogas production with either strict or flexible environmental regulation. We consider biodiversity and three ES: biogas generation, food production and the visual landscape. Our results show that the expansion of maize production results in predominantly negative impacts for other ES. However, positive effects can also be identified, i.e.
, when the introduction of maize leads to higher local crop diversity and, thus, a more attractive visual landscape. The scenario of little regulation portrays more negative impacts than the other scenarios. Targeted spatial planning, implementation and appropriate governance for steering maize production into less sensitive areas is crucial for minimizing trade-offs and exploiting synergies between bioenergy and other ES.
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