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Biodiversity crisis: Technological advances in agriculture are not a sufficient response


Rapid population and economic growth are destroying biological diversity—especially in the tropics. This was reported by a research team led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) in Nature Ecology & Evolution. A growing demand for agricultural products requires new cultivated areas. Even though technological advances are making agriculture more efficient, growing populations quickly absorbs these increases. According to the study, an effective nature conservation policy needs concepts to curb population growth and for sustainable consumption.

The usual response by policy makers to this sustainability challenge is to promote increases in agricultural and forestry efficiency through technological methods. But is this enough? Scientists led by the iDiv research centre and the University of Halle have determined how land use affects biodiversity and ecosystem services, and for the first time, the ways this impact has changed over time. They examined the role that population growth and economic development play in the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services globally by combining data on biodiversity, land use and the sequestration of CO2 with economic models for the period between 2000 and 2011.