The project will follow a hybrid approach as a roadmap toward the empirical application of the STRAP framework in regions that have diverging economic, social and ecological systems. This section describes the fusion of diverse data and techniques which, when applied separately to assess the sustainable development of bioenergy, will fail to capture the complex system of bioenergy production. The STRAP methods are organised into five groups: (1) Data collection and preparation; (2) Preference assessment; (3) Trade-offs analysis; (4) Integrated assessment; and (5) Project management and network (Figure 1).

Data Collection & Preparation

Field data (interviews and surveys) – It includes qualitative data to be collected from survey and interviews, which will provide information on the opinion of local people about the production potentials of 1st and 2nd generation bioenergy and their effects on the social, economic and ecological sustainability in the society. The survey will be conducted “online”. The same questionnaire will be used for “offline” survey in laptops to conduct personal interviews with farmers and agricultural workers who do not have access to the internet or time to fill out online survey.

High-resolution spatial data (GIS maps) – The geographical information system (GIS) data will include maps of land use for different years between 1960 and 2010. The land use maps should have high resolution to describe the changes in crop pattern over time. Moreover, historical land use maps could help identify how changes in policy have affected land use pattern. Historical and high-resolution biophysical maps are also important to assess how changes in soil (e.g. fertility, depth, erodibility), precipitation (e.g. frequency, duration), and other related environmental indicators have affected land use. Whilst the changes in biophysical features were rather insignificant since the 1960s, those in land use patterns have been very significant. Land use maps are available from the 1980s in the case study countries but not for the years 1960 and 1970. Thus, for these years the methods for reconstruction of historical land use change will be applied.

Literature on policies/conversion technologies – The ability to substitute fossil fuel with biofuel depends not only on the available land but also on the available conversion technologies. The Asian countries do not have the same level of technological development, and the technical and cost efficiencies of their technologies will influence their diffusion in the domestic market. Literature review will be conducted to assess the state of conversion technologies on bioenergy, including studies with techno-economic analysis, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Life Cycle Costing (LCC), and Life Cycle Social Assessment (LCSA).

Statistical time-series data (sustainability indicators) – It provides historical evidence on the capacity and ability of countries to attain sustainability objectives that are relevant to bioenergy development. The data will include annual time-series data to be collected from government authorities for the period 1960-2010. The data are indicators representing the different social, economic and ecological determinants as defined in the sustainability concept (Figure 1). The data will be at the lowest possible administrative levels to capture the geographical differences within the case study countries.

Global change scenarios have been widely used in environmental impact studies to deal with the uncertainties of the future. These scenarios are often based on socio-economic storylines of a range of plausible, alternative future worlds within an exploratory framework (i.e. SRES-IPCC, Millennium Assessment). Various projects have attempted to quantify these qualitative storylines for different sectors (e.g. ACCELERATES, VISTA, EURURALIS, ATEAM, and PRELUDE) in Europe using a range of quantitative modelling techniques and participatory approaches. The most appropriate method will be adopted from these projects to develop downscaled scenarios for other countries. STRAP projects do not intend to develop new models to generate global change scenarios but to use available knowledge generated from previous projects that are relevant to global environmental change.

Preference Assessments

Conjoint analysis of preferences – It will be applied to estimate the preference weights and the inputs for its application are field data from interviews and surveys. In conjoint analysis, a set of “attributes” (sustainability determinants) and “attribute levels” (sustainability indicators) define the choice tasks in conjoint questionnaires. The possible combinations of different attribute levels make up the different options in a choice task. The SSIWeb Sawtooth software will be used to prepare questionnaires and conduct conjoint analysis.

Participatory policy assessments – The stakeholders’ participation in assessing policy implications of sustainable criteria for transition to LCS will increase policy relevance of these criteria. The members of the stakeholder committee and other stakeholders from public, research or private institutions will participate in the policy assessments. This task aims to facilitate dialogue with stakeholders through organisation of necessary logistics for and preparation of discussion materials for the workshops.

Trade-offs Analysis

Overlay analysis of GIS maps – Patterns of land-use conversion will be generated through overlay analysis of high-resolution historical land use maps. Land use conversions from food to biofuel crops and first generation to second generation crops will be given particular focus. Land use maps for different years will be overlaid to identify various land use conversion patterns on each pixel. The same pixel-based overlay analysis will be carried out for the maps on biophysical properties to determine any changes in the natural environment, which may have influenced the conversion of land use from one crop to another. The pixels where changes on production activities and biophysical characteristics have occurred will be assigned a value of 1, and otherwise zero. From these overlay analyses, new sets of GIS maps with values of 1 and 0 will be created for both land use and biophysical changes. The new maps will also be overlaid to identify the pixels where no biophysical changes have occurred or, say, ∆BP ≠ 0. Information on land use pattern on these pixels will be used as dependent variables in the logistic analysis. The purpose of the overlay analyses will be to extract the effects of the changes in biophysical properties on land use conversion because the assessment of development pathways will focus on the social, economic, and ecological determinants of sustainability. ArcGIS and similar software will be used to conduct the overlay analysis.

Fuzzy logic analysis of sustainability indicators – Indices of socio-economic sustainability will be generated through fuzzy analysis of technological state, sustainability indicators, and preference weights. Fuzzy logic is a technique to combine quantitative and qualitative indicators, and include expert knowledge. This is an important step to integrating bottom-up knowledge (preference weights) into top-down information (sustainability indicators). The fuzzy toolbox of MATLAB software will be used to conduct fuzzy logic analysis.

Spatial logistic analysis of land use changes – Indices of land use conversions will be generated through logistic analysis and the inputs for the logistic models are the land-use conversions patterns, and socio-economic sustainability indices and bio-physical variables. Logistic models have been applied on historical land use maps to estimate the probability of land use conversions or to derive land use determinants. In this kind of model, the dependent variable will be binary, taking a value of 1 when land use change occurred and 0 when it did not. The independent variables, which are sets of variables influencing conversions from one land use to another, can have continuous or discrete distributions. The selection of independent variables will require the set-up of geodatabases linking spatially explicit information from statistics to available thematic geodatasets. The logistic model specification with the highest number of suitable coefficients (i.e. statistically significant, correct signs) will be used not only to generate probabilities of land use conversions but also to identify the variable inputs for the path analysis. Because the probabilities of land use conversion are spatially explicit, the land use conversion indices can be converted into maps. Standard statistical software like SPSS will be used to run logistic models.

Integrated Assessment

Path analysis of trade-off indices – Path analysis will be applied to generate development pathways for developing bioenergy sector through integration of knowledge generated from trade-offs analysis. Pathways are diagrams showing interconnections and interdependencies of the statistically significant determinants of sustainability and their effects on the probabilities of converting land use into bioenergy. A path diagram consists of variables, arrows, and coefficients. The pathway diagrams will inform about the most relevant indicators of social, economic and ecological sustainability and their effects on the sustainable production of bioenergy. At the same time, they provide clear information on how different regions perform on the sustainability dimensions. Partial least squares structural equation modelling using the SmartPLS software will be used to conduct path analysis and estimate the path diagrams.

Multi-criteria criteria decision analysis – It will generate policy-relevant criteria for transition to LCS during the workshops. The criteria will consist of the magnitude and direction of interrelationships between the relevant sustainability indicators, which will be assessed or validated using easily comprehensible information such as indices of sustainability trade-offs , maps of bioenergy potentials and diagrams of development pathways. Analytic hierarchy approach will be used in developing transition criteria.

Scenario development and analysis – The global change parameters, which will be generated from the, will be used as inputs to the trade-offs analysis. Different dataset scenarios for land-use conversion patterns, ranks of conversion technologies, sustainability trade-off indices and Land-use conversion probabilities will be created to support the development of pathways for different global change scenarios. The analysis will provide an exploration of alternative pathways for bio-physical and socio-economic variables. The construction of the scenario will be based on an integrated approach that ensures internal consistency between the co-evolution of socio-economics and climate change. So, the assumptions about socio-economic development will underpin the emissions of greenhouse gases and thus future climate change.

Project Management and Network

Project consortium & management – The STRAP Network consists of interdisciplinary team from Germany and developing countries with complementary expertise on sustainability and/or bioenergy research as well as local knowledge in the case study areas. The team is represented by the project partners and collaborators. The management will include kick-off, framing and final meetings to be held in the partner’s countries.

Project website and online databank – A website will be designed not only to inform the public about STRAP but also to serve as a platform for exchanging, uploading, and storing large dataset to be collected from the different case study countries. The latter will facilitate the creation of an online databank on bioenergy which can be made available to the STRAP Network during and beyond the project’s duration.

Liaison with stakeholder committee – To prepare for the participatory policy assessments, the project team will form STRAP stakeholder committees in case study countries. The committee will consists of stakeholders who are interested in joining discussions in, providing suggestions to, and following the progress of the project. The committee will support the conduct of participatory policy assessments and dissemination of the project results outside the STRAP Network.

Articles, reports, and other documents – Other important tasks to disseminate the results from STRAP projects are the presentation of papers in international conferences and publication of articles in international journals. Highlights of the published articles will be e-mailed to survey and interview respondents. Furthermore, documentation of results in the form of working papers, articles  and reports will be made available in a project website.