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Biodiversity recovery and transformation impacts for wetland biodiversity

Pezzati, L.; Verones, F.; Curran, M.; Baustert, P. and Hellweg, S. (2018) Biodiversity recovery and transformation impacts for wetland biodiversity. Environmental Science & Technology, 52, pp. 8479-8487.

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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methods for land use take both occupation and transformation impacts into account. However, for wetlands and impacts from water consumption, it is so far not possible to account for transformation impacts. It is our goal to close this research gap, by determining wetland recovery times and developing characterization factors for transformation. To do this, we conducted ameta-analysis of 59 studies analyzing biodiversity recovery in wetlands subject 20 to passive and active restoration. Generalized linear models were fitted to the biodiversity data and age, along with other wetland characteristics (such as elevation, latitude or climate class), were used as predictor variables. The results indicate that elevation, latitude, type of wetland and restoration method have the strongest effect on recovery speed. Recovery times vary from less than one year to a maximum of 107 years with passive restoration and 105 years with active restoration. Corresponding transformation characterization factors vary between 10-14 and 10-2 species-eq·year2/m3. Finally, recognizing the relevance of this work to real-world policy issues beyond LCA, we discuss the implications of our estimated restoration times on the feasibility of “biodiversity offsetting”. Offsetting utilizes restoration to replace biodiversity value lost due to development impacts. Our work can help stakeholders make informed decisions on whether offsetting represent a legitimate policy options in a particular context.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Life Cycle Assessment, LCA, biodiversity, policy
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Research affiliation: Switzerland > ETHZ - Agrarwissenschaften
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Rural sociology
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Biodiversity
Netherlands > Other organizations
Norway > Other organizations
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:34710
Deposited On:26 Feb 2019 11:01
Last Modified:16 Mar 2022 13:43
Document Language:English
Refereed:Submitted for peer-review but not yet accepted

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