Bioeconomy means using renewable biological resources to produce food, materials and energy.

Bioeconomy includes the vision of biobased and sustainable industries. Under this header, governments start to invest into innovations that help moving towards a symbiocene (e.g. in Germany and the EU). Fascinating and promising examples are the production of kerosene from algae, compostable displays or high-strength fibers from spider silk (for more examples including videos in German see here).

Switching to a sustainable instead of fossil-based industry does sound promising. However, challenges lie ahead. Increasing the use of renewable biological resources may cause conflicts, since the available area to grow biological resources is limited, and industrial needs may oppose the needs for food production as well as the aim to reduce the area of intensely managed land. Also, social and ethical implications of innovations need to be carefully evaluated, as the ongoing discussions on the use of genetic engineering in agriculture demonstrate. Transparency and the involvement of citizens in fundamental decisions is important (for a German example see here).

We believe, however, that a sustainable future needs to embrace innovation. And given a balanced and socio-ecologically compatible implementation, bioeconomy can become a highly important component of the symbiocene.


Image source:

Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

Photo by

PD Dr. Tina Heger

Fields of Expertise: Biodiversity Research, Ecological Theory