Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Session
309RA: Assessing and evaluating the impact of the consumption of land-based products on biodiversity and ecosystem services - Part A
Time:
Wednesday, 24/Apr/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Thomas Kastner
Session Chair: Alexandra Marques
Location: UniS-A 003
UniS Building, Auditorium A 003, ground floor, 178 seats + 54 seats on gallery on first floor
Session Topics:
How do we support transformation?

Session Abstract

In land systems, biodiversity is key to the maintenance of ecosystem functions, which in turn underpin the supply ecosystem services harnessed by human societies. While agricultural and forestry activities are essential for human survival and well-being, they are also one of the major drivers of global biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. Ultimately, the consumption of land-based products is the main force behind the demand for land and the intensity of land use. Increasing globalization and industrialization is telecoupling consumption in one place to production in remote regions. To devise land-use strategies that address both production and conservation targets, proper accounting tools that link consumption activities to their biodiversity impacts are essential. Main challenges in establishing such accounting tools include: quantifying different dimensions of biodiversity and its temporal trends at large scales; the attribution of these trends to individual land-based products and land-use processes; and the disentangling of complex international supply chains. These peculiarities are the main culprits why the development of consumption-based tools for biodiversity and ecosystem services lags behind recent advances in accounting of other environmental pressures and impacts. In this session, we bring to together researchers at the forefront of consumption-based accounting of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Recent developments will be discussed, highlighting the potential, robustness and limitations of different approaches. The potential of consumption-based accounting to contributing to an alignment of production and conservation targets in land systems and to minimize trade-offs between the two will be critically explored.


External Resource: - SESSION RECORDING - https://youtu.be/iPMGzrFzNyM
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Presentations
Full talk
ID: 774 / 309RA: 1
309R Assessing and evaluating the impact of the consumption of land-based products on biodiversity and ecosystem services
Keywords: consumption-based accounting, biodiversity, land use

Assessing and evaluating the impact of the consumption of land-based products on biodiversity: current state-of the art and future directions

Thomas Kastner1, Alexandra Marques2

1Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Germany; 2Joint Research Center, European Commission

Agriculture and forestry are essential for human survival and well-being; at the same time they are one of the major drivers of global biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. The consumption of land-based products is the main force behind the demand for land and the intensity of land use. Increasing globalization and industrialization is telecoupling consumption in one place to production in remote regions. To devise land-use strategies that address both production and conservation targets, proper accounting tools that link consumption activities to their biodiversity impacts are essential. In this talk, we introduce the session by outlining recent progress in consumption-based accounting for biodiversity loss, and by presenting major challenges ahead. We highlight opportunities for improving existing methods and for novel approaches, as well as strategies for making them more policy-relevant.



Full talk
ID: 648 / 309RA: 2
309R Assessing and evaluating the impact of the consumption of land-based products on biodiversity and ecosystem services
Keywords: species, traders, zero-deforestation, biodiversity footprint

Linking supply chain actors and the global trade of agricultural commodities to impacts on species

Jonathan Green1,2,3, A. Paz Duran3,4, Simon Croft1,2, Andrew Balmford5, Neil Burgess6, Stephen Fick2, Toby Gardner2, Javier Godar2, Clement Suavet2, Malika Virah-Sawmy3, Piero Visconti7, Lucy Young8, Christopher West1,2

1Environment and Geography Dept., York, YO10 5NG, United Kingdom; 2Stockholm Environment Institute; 3Luc Hoffmann Institute, Gland, Switzerland; 4Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Casilla 653, Santiago, Chile; 5Conservation Science Group, Dept. Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK; 6UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK; 7Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, University College London, UK; 8WWF-UK, Woking, UK

Agricultural commodity production is a major cause of environmental damage. However, achieving the ambitions of government and private-sector commitments to reduce the impacts of agricultural trade is extremely difficult: drivers are global and supply chains are opaque, making it hard to dissect the roles and responsibilities of different actors involved. Here I describe our work to develop a biodiversity footprint indicator that can i) capture the status of different species groups, ii) link biodiversity impact to specific human activities, and iii) be adapted to the most applicable scale for the decision context. We apply this globally-applicable approach to the case of soybean expansion in the Brazilian Cerrado. Using species-specific habitat suitability models, we assessed the impact of soy expansion and other land uses over 2,000 species of amphibians, birds, mammals and plants.

We linked this new metric with state-of-the-art models of trade flows to provide practical insights for understanding the biodiversity impacts of global soy supply chains. These include: (i) understanding global drivers of biodiversity loss; (ii) demonstrating impacts on specific high-profile species; (iii) identifying supply chain actors to consider their roles; and (iv) highlighting overlap between government and private commitments.

We find consumption in Brazil itself has the greatest impact, followed by consumption in China; importantly both these countries are missing from a key declaration to eliminate deforestation from supply chains. The ability and flexibility of our approach to examine linkages between biodiversity loss and the consumption that causes it has substantial potential to better characterise the pathways by which habitat loss drivers operate. Moreover, by identifying actors within the supply chain, the approach provides deeper understanding of the opportunities for leverage by committed actors which can lead to improvements across the supply chain as a whole.



Full talk
ID: 621 / 309RA: 3
309R Assessing and evaluating the impact of the consumption of land-based products on biodiversity and ecosystem services
Keywords: global trade, food, biodiversity, evolutionary history

Phylogenetic diversity loss associated with global food production, consumption and trade

Abhishek Chaudhary1,2

1ETHZ; 2Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, India

The limited success of traditional conservation practices such as expanding protected areas signals a need for new, integrated approaches to halt biodiversity declines. In particular, biodiversity-benign production methods can be complemented by changing human or national consumption patterns such that the global demand for products most damaging to biodiversity is reduced. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a promising tool to quantify the land use impacts associated with everyday products but within LCA, most methods focus on loss of species richness only. In recent years, evolutionary history (also referred to as phylogenetic diversity or PD) has been argued to capture biodiversity better than simple measures of species richness. Here we combine countryside species-area relationship with species-specific evolutionary isolation scores of mammals, birds and amphibians to derive new characterization factors (CFs) providing evolutionary history lost per m2 of different human land use types in each of the 804 terrestrial ecoregions and 176 countries for use in LCA. To illustrate their application, we combine the new CFs with global crop yield maps and food trade databases to quantify evolutionary history loss embodied in both global consumption and bilateral food trade. For the three taxa combined, we project a total loss of 9472 million years (MY) of evolutionary history due to habitat loss caused by all human land uses globally. Agriculture is responsible for loss of 1579 MY; pasture 1990 MY, forestry 5381, and urbanization 522. Results show that 18% of total loss due to agriculture land use can be attributed to land use for export production. The United States, China, Japan and Germany are projected to inflict most damage abroad due to food imports while Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, India and Philippines are projected to incur highest evolutionary history loss due to land use for export production. We found that different hotspots of global biodiversity loss emerge depending upon which metric (species richness or evolutionary history) is considered. Our results and approach are useful in life cycle, footprinting and product sustainability assessments and can inform nations designing regional strategies to achieve the Aichi 2020 biodiversity targets.



Flash talk
ID: 746 / 309RA: 4
309R Assessing and evaluating the impact of the consumption of land-based products on biodiversity and ecosystem services
Keywords: biomass consumption, scenarios, quantification and evaluation

Quantifying and evaluating Germany's biomass consumption on the way to a bioeconomy 2050: a scenario approach

Jan Goepel, Jan Schuengel

University of Kassel, CESR, Germany

Sustainable management of an economy presumes an intergenerational fair utilization of resources within planetary boundaries. Fossil resources that drive today´s economies become scarce. Their extraction is becoming increasingly expensive and is associated with great technical difficulties and environmental risks. Accordingly, future-oriented economic management has to be implemented in a way that insists on the use of renewable resources and what is perceived as waste and emission in present non-circular economies as a basis for production. This reshaping of current economic acting not only implies the need to rethink production but also the necessity to politically foster a transition of the society in terms of overall consumption.

We construct scenarios of economic and social change towards a sustainable production and consumption in the year 2050 in Germany. We then couple economic-, land use-, and resource-use optimization models in order to quantify biomass demand on a global scale resulting from the consumption of the German economy. The final scenarios are evaluated in terms of their environmental impact as a result of economic production and overall consumption by employing a diverse set of indicators.



Flash talk
ID: 370 / 309RA: 5
309R Assessing and evaluating the impact of the consumption of land-based products on biodiversity and ecosystem services
Keywords: animal products consumption; land use; pasture land; consumption patterns;

How much land is needed to produce our meat, milk and eggs? the case of Mexican livestock systems

Maria Jose Ibarrola-Rivas1, Sanderine Nonhebel2

1Institute of Geography UNAM, Mexico; 2University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Land demand for animal products consumption is one of the biggest challenge for future sustainability of the food system. Most studies in the scientific literature have analysed the land used by livestock production systems in developed countries. Developing countries are changing rapidly both the consumption of animal products and the livestock production systems. Mexico is used as example of a developing country in economic transition. An approach is developed to calculate the Land Requirement for Animal Products (LRAP) for beef, milk, pork, chicken meat and eggs. The livestock production systems in Mexico are studied to identify the main drivers that determine the LRAP. An average medium-scale farm of Mexico is described using farm-scale production data from the National Agricultural Survey of Mexico. The results show that the use of pasture land overrules the use of cropland for feed production and the latter overrules the use of farm area. The production of a beef protein requires more land than any other animal product. This is mainly driven by the large demand of pasture land. The use of pasture represents 70% of the total demand of land for food for the Mexican population, which is mainly for the beef and milk consumption. Future dietary changes and population growth will demand more land for food, there will be not enough land if food is produced with present livestock production systems. It is urgent to implement strategies to reduce the use of land for food focusing in both production and consumption variables such as increasing pasture productivity and change type of meat consumption (from beef to chicken or pork).



Full talk
ID: 314 / 309RA: 6
309R Assessing and evaluating the impact of the consumption of land-based products on biodiversity and ecosystem services
Keywords: biodiversity footprint, embodied HANPP, species-energy hypothesis

Multi-scale analysis of the global biodiversity footprints of large cities

Philipp R Semenchuk1, Dietmar Moser1, Christoph Plutzar2, Ingrid Kleinbauer2, Franz Essl3, Stefan Dullinger1

1University of Vienna, Austria; 2University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria; 3Environment Angency, Austria

Cities exert pressure on biodiversity beyond their own territories related to their populations’ consumption of food, energy and other products. We will develop an approach to quantify, map and predict the national and global “biodiversity footprint” of large cities. The approach will combine methods from socio-ecological sustainability science (material flow analysis, embodied HANPP calculations) and biodiversity research (macro-ecological modelling).

Specifically, we will calculate the global biodiversity footprint of a city’s consumption of land-based biomass products by applying the species-energy hypothesis on worldwide plot-scale data of species richness across a range of land use categories. The assumption that the removal of NPP for human consumption equals the removal of energy from the primary, pre-land use ecosystem is the theoretical basis for empirically quantifying the direct relationship between eHANPP of commodities and species richness of plant and animal communities at their place of production. By modifying the city’s calculated consumption patterns (e.g. increase the proportion of organically grown products), we will model potential reductions in the city’s biodiversity footprint. This last step will explore the considerable potential of cities towards fulfilling UN sustainability development goals.

Due to the team’s expertise and availability of consumption data from the city of Vienna, Austria, we will use this city as our model system. Based on experiences gained from this project, further cities may be evaluated.



Full talk
ID: 365 / 309RA: 7
309R Assessing and evaluating the impact of the consumption of land-based products on biodiversity and ecosystem services
Keywords: multi-regional input-output analysis, regulation services, water purification, interregional flows

A consumption-based indicator for water purification

Alexandra Marques, Alessandra La Notte

European Commission - Joint Research Centre, Italy

Sustainably managing ecosystem services is critical to guarantee the well-being of current and future generations. To do so it is essential to take into consideration that there might be a spatial disconnection between the place where the service is supplied and the place where the service ends up. Here, we use recently developed production-based water purification accounts to compute consumption-based water purification accounts and the associated international flow of ecosystem services for Europe. The water purification service is enabled by agricultural activities and flows embodied in agricultural products. Our results show that the top net importers of water purification ecosystem services import it from regions whose water bodies are under high nitrogen pressure. The majority of actions to improve the good ecological status of water bodies in Europe are planned at the River Basin level, nevertheless our work shows that taking a systems perspective that considering the benefits from nature as well as the flows of ecosystem services between different countries is possible and may provide new alternatives to tackle degradation and overexploitation of natural capital.



 
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