Can India’s wasteland be used for biomass plantations?
How much of India’s vast wasteland can be used for growing plants such as eucalyptus and Jatropha? As land demands have increased, the sustainable use of marginal lands has become increasingly important. In India about 47 million hectares, or 15 percent of the total geographical area, is classified as wastelands. Here we assess the climate and land quality requirements of eucalyptus, a commonly used plantation tree, and Jatropha, a much-discussed biodiesel crop. We find that roughly half of the degraded lands are suitable for growing eucalyptus and/or Jatropha.