DF 61 — How to assess impacts of land use on biodiversity and soil quality in LCA?
March 15, 2016, Zürich (Tuesday, in English).
Assessments of land use related impacts on ecosystem resources covering biodiversity and soil production potential are still a difficult issue in LCA. Major challenges are that biodiversity and soil degradation need to be assessed within a specific bio-geographic context and that land use intensities need to be considered. While the real dynamics and complexity of ecosystem processes above and below ground require complex and data demanding models, LCA practitioners call for simple and easy to use assessment routines that are, however, prone to oversimplification. Impacts of land use on biodiversity and soil quality as are a key issue for the food, feed, apparel, paper and bioenergy industries that are all based on agricultural and forestry-based products. Therefore, upcoming approaches like Natural Capital Valuation aim for a simplified assessment of overall ecosystem impacts.
Finding balanced solutions that adequately represent ecosystem complexity and that are still relatively easily applicable will be key to improve informed decision making on the sustainability of agricultural and forestry-based products. On the discussion forum, among others, recent results from the UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative will be presented on the assessment of biodiversity impacts of land use. The goal of this discussion forum is to present and discuss the state-of-the-art of methods for assessing land-use related impacts on ecosystems, the possibilities and limits of those approaches and the needs of the industry to integrate such methods.