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Farm- and product-level biodiversity assessment of conventional and organic dairy production in Austria

Schader, C.; Drapela, T.; Markut, T.; Meier, M. S.; Lindenthal, T.; Hörtenhuber, S. and Pfiffner, L. (2014) Farm- and product-level biodiversity assessment of conventional and organic dairy production in Austria. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 10 (1), pp. 20-39.

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PDF - Published Version - English

Document available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2013.878752


The novel method developed for this study evaluates the impact of farming practices on farmland biodiversity, allowing for the assessment of the biodiversity potential of dairy farms at farm and product levels. We linked farming practices as pressure indicators to the species number and abundance of 11 indicator species groups (ISGs), evaluated semi-quantitatively by expert judgements. We calculated biodiversity potential based on food–web relationships between the ISGs, using Monte Carlo simulations for the analysis of uncertainty of expert assessments. We applied the assessment model to 8925 dairy farms from seven different Austrian regions, using official statistical data sets at farm level and interviews with farmers and experts. The results show that the approach can be used to identify differences in the biodiversity potential of farms and milk. Milk from organic farms received 4–79% higher biodiversity scores than milk from conventional farms in all regions.
The application showed that in the case of Austrian dairy production, the approach can be used for assessments of both farms and products. However, the approach needs validation and, for product-level assessment, further development to cope with longer supply chains or compound products from different bio-geographic regions.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:farm level, product level, indicators, agro-environmental measures, evaluation, organic agriculture, impact assessment, Department of Socio-Economics Sciences, biodiversity
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Austria
Research affiliation:Austria > FiBL Austria
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics
ISSN:2151-3732 (Print), 2151-3740 (Online)
Deposited By: Schader, Dr. Christian
ID Code:29550
Deposited On:15 Dec 2015 14:59
Last Modified:21 Dec 2015 10:44
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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