Towards consensus on land use impacts on biodiversity in LCA: UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative preliminary recommendations based on expert contributions

  • Teixeira R
  • De Souza D
  • Curran M
 et al. 
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Abstract

The United Nations Environment Programme/Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (UNEP/SETAC) Life Cycle Initiative organized two consensus-building workshops regarding Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) models and indicators for land use impacts on biodiversity. This article presents a synthesis of the main recommendations drawn from the opinions of the experts present, from the Initiative's perspective. The needs of LCA practitioners are crucial to determine what characteristics biodiversity assessment models should possess. Available models are mainly apt for impact hotspot detection in supply chains. If the goal is to assess the impacts of plot-level management practices they should be accompanied by other more detailed tools beyond LCA. Site-specific data are necessary to accurately assess biodiversity loss at regional and local scale, despite known constraints imposed by life cycle inventories. Examples of datasets are provided in this article. Species richness is a promising start for these models but it must be complemented with metrics for habitat configuration and intensitybased indicators. Finally, modelling results should be better coupled with policy decisions and existing strategic plans.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Ecology
  • Land use
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Life cycle impact assessment
  • UNEP/SETAC life cycle initiative

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