Lindner, Jan Paul; Knüpffer, Eva; Kirchdorfer, Roman; Maier, Stephanie
By 2050, the world population will increase by about 26% compared to 2019. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 80% of the additional food requirements will be met by increasing yields and increasing the number of crops per year. According to WHO this can only be handled by intensive use of pesticides (World Health Organization. At the same time FAO emphasises the protection of biological diversity in the framework of a sustainable agriculture. In the EU funded project OLEFINE, biodiversity impacts of integrated pest management (IPM) are evaluated with LCA-compatible methods. As the assessment of biodiversity impacts of products and services is still an open question, two different methods are applied to find out which approach is more suitable for the specific issue and data availability and how results differ between them. At the same time, the assessment serves to estimate potential biodiversity impact reductions through IPM. The approach developed by Chaudhary & Brooks (2018) uses species richness as an indicator for biodiversity while the method developed by Lindner et al. (2019) assesses the impact on biodiversity for different kinds of land use in the form of an index that aggregates impacts of different management practices (e.g. use of pesticides in crop production). Both approaches are applied on several crops produced in different countries. The study shows that the approach using species richness yields coarser results, which renders it less suitable for evaluating and comparing impacts of specific agricultural management schemes. Applying the approach by Lindner et al. allows a more nuanced calculation; the results indicate that IPM can have a reducing effect on the overall negative impact on local biodiversity. Yet IPM is but one building block of sustainable crop production. The results also show that neither method is ideal for the specific task of comparing conventional pesticide application to IPM.