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Biodiversity and Land Use

A Search for Suitable Indicators for Policy Use

In a project commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, CE Delft explored whether indicators that link m2 land used for economic activities with biodiversity, are available and whether they could be applied in the various areas of policy-making in which biodiversity is an important issue.

CE Delft selected three indicators to examine in more detail:
-    The Mean Species Abundance indicator (MSA), developed under the TEEB program
-    ReCiPe LCA methodology
-    The biodiversity impact indicator developed by TNO.

All three indicators employ the relative reduction in biodiversity compared with the pristine baseline situation to describe the impact of different kinds of land use on biodiversity.

Each of the identified indicators has its strengths, limitations and specific features.
For application in policies, the ReCiPe indicator would be the most suitable methodology in the current situation, mainly because of its integration in LCA methodology. Its value and that of the other two indicators could be improved by improving the extensiveness and level of detail of the underlying datasets. Furthermore, combining the different methodological features of the three identified indicators would improve their value in policy applications.


Geert Bergsma
Harry Croezen

Delft, June 2011


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