Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 11, pp 3245–3254 | Cite as

A proposal for accounting for biodiversity in life cycle assessment

  • Trent D. PenmanEmail author
  • Brad S. Law
  • Fabiano Ximenes
Original paper


Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a methodology for assessing the environmental impacts associated with products throughout their lifecycle. Many impacts are accounted for within the LCA framework, but to date biodiversity impacts have received little attention. There are a number of existing direct and indirect measures of biodiversity within the ecological field, some of which have the potential to be developed into a useable method for LCA. However, our assessment is that considerable development would be required and their implementation for LCA is not likely in the foreseeable future. Here an alternative approach is proposed for rapidly incorporating biodiversity impacts into LCA. The approach relies on expert opinions through a series of questions which aim to encapsulate the main issues relating to biodiversity within a disturbance impact framework. While the technique is in its infancy we outline a foundation for the approach and identify the steps required to develop this method for implementation into LCA.


Biodiversity metric Disturbance ecology LCA 



Life cycle assessment.


International Union for Conservation of Nature



This paper has been developed following the ALCAS roundtable held at UNSW in July 2007. Views of participants have helped to clarify our thoughts on the matter and gave us the drive to prepare the concept for the new approach. Comments by Sarah Bekesley, Annette Cowie, Bob Eldridge and Rod Kavanagh on an earlier draft of the manuscript helped develop the concept.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trent D. Penman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brad S. Law
    • 1
  • Fabiano Ximenes
    • 1
  1. 1.Forest Science CentreNSW Department of Primary IndustriesBeecroftAustralia

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