Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

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Research frontiers for better understanding trade-offs between agricultural production and biodiversity conservation

How to balance agricultural production and biodiversity conservation has emerged as a central question in Land Use Science and Conservation Biology. A new paper by Ricardo Grau and co-authors, recently published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, identifies research frontiers in the analysis of trade-offs between agriculture and conservation. The paper highlights that assessments of alternative land use strategies, such as land sparing and land sharing, could benefit from an improved consideration of environmental heterogeneity (in biodiversity patters and agricultural productivity), teleconnections, and the socio-economic constrants of particular land use strategies.

 

Beyond land sparing vs. land sharing: environmental heterogeneity, globalization and the balance between agriculture and nature conservation

Ricardo H Grau | Tobias Kuemmerle | Leandro Macchi

 

Abstract

By addressing the trade-offs between food production and biodiversity conservation at landscape and ecoregion scales, the land sparing/sharing debate has made a significant contribution to land use science. However, as global population and food consumption grow, and urbanization and transnational trade intensify, land use trade-offs need to be analyzed at broader scales. These analyses should specifically consider the role of environmental heterogeneity on biodiversity distribution and agricultural suitability, the costs and benefits transferred far away from the focal land use, institutional and economic factors influencing stability and resilience, technology-related factors as mediators of agriculture suitability, and bundles of different environmental services. In addition, land use strategies to balance agriculture and biodiversity conservation must consider local socioeconomic constraints and trade-offs.

 

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