An economic modeling research study from Purdue University investigated the impacts of U.S. biofuel production on deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

“Our analysis shows that less than 1% of the land cleared in Indonesia and Malaysia can be tied to U.S. biofuel production,” said Farzad Taheripour, a research associate professor in Purdue agricultural economics. “The amount is not significant.”

Though U.S. biofuels production and palm oil production in Southeast Asia have both been increasing, the study found that other factors account for that deforestation. U.S. crop productivity has increased over time, producing more yield on the same amount of land. And so, conversion of land has not been needed to account for most of the U.S. biofuel production.

The full report, US Biofuel Production and Policy Implications for Land Use Changes in Malaysia and Indonesia, was recently published in the journal of Biotechnology for Biofuels. The study was funded in part by the National Biodiesel Board.