Towards a methodology for taking physical degradation of ecosystems into account in LCA

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Abstract

An analytic procedure has been followed to select adequate methods to express ecosystem degradation in LCA. This procedure consisted of problem definition, identification of relevant issues, of a quantitative expression for ecosystem degradation and of possible nature value indicators and building a framework of criteria for selecting adequate methods. With the selection framework a first screening of methods was performed. For full quantification the following formula is proposed: ED = L (Nr- Na), with land use I. = A t and nature value change (Nr- Na) Degradation due to an activity appears difficult to operationalise, but ecosystem suppression by activities can well be assessed. Nr is then the natural background or would-be natural situation. Na can best be described by the actual state during the activity, unless hard data on restoration is available. Na and Nr can be expressed in the biomass production indicator NPP - NCR Biodiversity and/or erosion may be added to include irreversible effects.