Bioenergy and biomaterials from fiber crops are regarded as promising substitutes for conventional ones, considering the growing concern about oil and other non-renewable resources depletion and the environmental impacts of the conventional systems. In this paper, the environmental aspects of fiber crops cultivation and use are reviewed. The analysis was based on the following categories: use of resources, emission of gases, effects on the quality of soil and water and biological and landscape diversity.As bioenergy and biomaterials carriers, fiber crops offer ecological advantages over conventional ones by contributing to carbon sequestration and energy savings, and to the reduction of greenhouse gases and non-renewable resources. However, other environmental outcomes, such as acidifying and eutrophication emissions, may limit the conversion and use of fiber crops. Even so, the low input requirements associated with this class of crops and its phytoremediation aptness for wastewaters or contaminated land, are some of the environmental advantages associated with fiber crops.Crop management options and processing choices can influence the outcomes, but site specific factors should be accurately assessed to evaluate the adequacy between crop and location. Opportunities for improvement are indicated, in order to provide new insights for the future development of these crops in a sustainable agro-industrial framework.
- Agro-environmental indicators
- Environmental studies
- Fiber crops