A spatially explicit data-driven approach to assess the effect of agricultural land occupation on species groups
Change of vegetation cover and increased land use intensity, particularly for agricultural use, can affect species richness. Within life cycle impact assessment, methods to assess impacts of land use on a global scale are still in need of development. In this work, we present a spatially explicit data-driven approach to characterize the effect of agricultural land occupation on different species groups.
We derived characterization factors for the direct impact of agricultural land occupation on relative species richness. Our method identifies potential differences in impacts for cultivation of different crop types, on different species groups, and in different world regions. Using empirical species richness data gathered via an extensive literature search, characterization factors were calculated for four crop groups (oil palm, low crops, Pooideae, and Panicoideae), four species groups (arthropods, birds, mammals, and vascular plants), and six biomes.
Results and discussion
Analysis of the collected data showed that vascular plant richness is more sensitive than the species richness of arthropods to agricultural land occupation. Regarding the differences between world regions, the impact of agricultural land use was lower in boreal forests/taiga than in temperate and tropical regions. The impact of oil palm plantations was found to be larger than that of Pooideae croplands, although we cannot rule out that this difference is influenced by the spatial difference between the oil palm- and Pooideae-growing regions as well. Analysis of a subset of data showed that the impact of conventional farming was larger than the impact of low-input farming.
The impact of land occupation on relative species richness depends on the taxonomic groups considered, the climatic region, and farm management. The influence of crop type, however, was found to be of less importance.
KeywordsBiodiversity Characterization factor Crop cultivation Life cycle impact assessment Land occupation Species richness
This study was part of a collaboration between ExxonMobil Research and Engineering (NJ, USA) and the Department of Environmental Science of the Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands). The authors wish to thank Laura de Baan for providing data and sharing her expertise and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.
- Brentrup F, Küsters J, Lammel J, Kuhlmann H (2002) Life cycle impact assessment of land use based on the hemeroby concept. Int J Life Cycle Assess 7(6):339–348Google Scholar
- Flohre A, Fischer C, Aavik T, Bengtsson J, Berendse F, Bommarco R, Ceryngier P, Clement LW, Dennis C, Eggers S, Emmerson M, Geiger F, Guerrero I, Hawro V, Inchausti P, Liira J, Morales MB, Oñate JJ, Pärt T, Weisser WW, Winqvist C, Thies C, Tscharntke T (2011) Agricultural intensification and biodiversity partitioning in European landscapes comparing plants, carabids, and birds. Ecol Appl 21(5):1772–1781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kessler M, Abrahamczyk S, Bos M, Buchori D, Dwi Putra D, Gradstein SR, Hõhn P, Kluge J, Orend F, Pitopang R, Saleh S, Schulze CH, Sporn SG, Steffan-Dewenter I, Tjitrosoedirdjo SS, Tscharntke T (2009) Alpha and beta diversity of plants and animals along a tropical land-use gradient. Ecol Appl 19(8):2142–2156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kløverpris J, Wenzel H, Nielsen PH (2007) Life cycle inventory modelling of land use induced by crop consumption. Part 1: conceptual analysis and methodological proposal. Int J Life Cycle Assess 13(1):13–21Google Scholar
- Köllner T, Scholz RW (2007) Assessment of land use impacts on the natural environment. Part 1: an analytical framework for pure land occupation and land use change. Int J Life Cycle Assess 12(1):16–23Google Scholar
- Köllner T, Scholz RW (2008) Assessment of land use impacts on the natural environment. Part 2: generic characterization factors for local species diversity in central Europe. Int J Life Cycle Assess 13(1):32–48Google Scholar
- Lindeijer E, Müller-Wenk R, Steen B (2002) Impact assessment of resources and land use. In: Udo de Haes HA, Finnveden G, Goedkoop M et al. (eds) Life cycle impact assessment: striving towards best practice. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), Pensacola, pp 11–64Google Scholar
- Michelsen O (2008) Assessment of land use impact on biodiversity. Proposal of a new methodology exemplified with forestry operations in Norway. Int J Life Cycle Assess 13(1):22–31Google Scholar
- Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: biodiversity synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Olsen DM, Dinerstein E, Wikramanayake ED, Burgess ND, Powell GVN, Underwood EC, D’amico JA, Itoua I, Strand HE, Morrison JC, Loucks CJ, Allnutt TF, Ricketts TH, Kura Y, Lamoreux JF, Wettengel WW, Hedao P, Kassem KR (2001) Terrestrial ecoregions of the world: a new map of life on earth. Bioscience 51(11):933–938CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Schulze CH, Waltert M, Kessler PJA, Pitopang R, Shahabudding, Veddeler D, Mühlenberg M, Gradstein SR, Leuschner C, Steffan-Dewenter I, Tscharntke T (2004) Biodiversity indicator groups of tropical land-use systems: comparing plants, birds, and insects. Ecol Appl 14(5):1321–1333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sørensen T (1948) A method of establishing groups of equal amplitude in plant sociology based on similarity of species content. K Dan Vidensk Selsk Biol Skr 5:1–34Google Scholar
- Vandewalle M, de Bello F, Berg MP, Bolger T, Dolédec S, Dubs F, Feld CK, Harrington R, Harrison PA, Lavorel S, Martins da Silva P, Moretti M, Niemelä J, Santos P, Sattler T, Sousa JP, Sykes MT, Vanbergen AJ, Woodcock BA (2010) Functional traits as indicators of biodiversity response to land use changes across ecosystems and organisms. Biodivers Conserv 19(10):2921–2947CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Weidema BP, Lindeijer E (2001) Physical impacts of land use in product life cycle assessment. Final report of the EURENVIRON-LCAGAPS sub-project on land use. Technical University of Denmark, LyngbyGoogle Scholar