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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Henrik von Wehrden.

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von Wehrden, H., Abson, D.J., Beckmann, M. et al. Realigning the land-sharing/land-sparing debate to match conservation needs: considering diversity scales and land-use history. Landscape Ecol 29, 941–948 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-014-0038-7

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Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Yields
  • Land management
  • Beta-diversity
  • Agricultural landscape