Agricultural bioenergy production faces dynamics such as yield fluctuations, volatile prices, resource competition, new regulation and policy, innovation and climate change. To what extent is bioenergy production able to adapt to changing environments and to overcome critical events? We investigate in detail how the agricultural bioenergy sector in the German State of Brandenburg adapted to diverse past events. The analysis rests on the adaptive-cycle concept of HOLLING and GUNDERSON (2002a), which has been widely applied in socialecological systems research. Brandenburg’s bioenergy production displays properties of a system in the exploitation phase, including a low potential and a high resilience of the system and a low connectedness within the system. There are risks and opportunities for bioenergy production. Sustainable bioenergy production requires a transition from the exploitation to the conservation phase. But Brandenburg’s bioenergy sector has limited adaptive capacity and there are certain barriers for the agricultural bioenergy sector to overcome potentially critical states. Policy needs to be tailored accordingly.


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