Landscape Ecology

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 941–948 | Cite as

Realigning the land-sharing/land-sparing debate to match conservation needs: considering diversity scales and land-use history

  • Henrik von WehrdenEmail author
  • David J. Abson
  • Michael Beckmann
  • Anna F. Cord
  • Stefan Klotz
  • Ralf Seppelt


The “land sharing versus land sparing” concept provides a framework for comparing potential land use patterns in terms of trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and agricultural yields at a landscape scale. Here, we raise two additional aspects to be considered in the sparing/sharing debate, supported by a review of available literature. First, beta and gamma (instead of alpha) diversity measures capture landscape scale variance in biodiversity in response to land use changes and should be considered for the long-term management of agricultural landscapes. Moreover, beta and gamma diversity may better account for comparisons of biodiversity between spared and shared land use options. Second, land use history has a pronounced influence on the complexity and variance in agricultural habitat niches at a landscape scale, which in turn may determine the relevance of sparing or sharing land use options. Appropriate and comparable biodiversity metrics and the recognition of landscape history are two vital preconditions in aligning biological conservation goals with maximized yields within the sparing/sharing framework.


Biodiversity Yields Land management Beta-diversity Agricultural landscape 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 10 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 24 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henrik von Wehrden
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • David J. Abson
    • 2
  • Michael Beckmann
    • 5
  • Anna F. Cord
    • 5
  • Stefan Klotz
    • 6
  • Ralf Seppelt
    • 5
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Institute of Ecology, Faculty of Sustainability and Centre of MethodsLeuphana UniversityLueneburgGermany
  2. 2.FuturES Leuphana UniversityLueneburgGermany
  3. 3.Research Institute of Wildlife EcologyViennaAustria
  4. 4.Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal and Cátedra de BiografíaFCEFyN (CONICET-Universidad Nacional de Córdoba)CórdobaArgentina
  5. 5.Department Computational Landscape EcologyUFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental ResearchLeipzigGermany
  6. 6.Department Community EcologyUFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental ResearchHalleGermany
  7. 7.Institute of Geosciences and GeographyMartin-Luther University Halle WittenbergHalleGermany
  8. 8.iDiv-German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research Halle-Jena-LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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