The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines biological diversity (or biodiversity) as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part”. According to this definition, biodiversity includes genetic diversity (diversity within species), the diversity of species (diversity between species), and the diversity of ecosystems. It applies to all living beings, including people, and refers expressly to the services associated with ecosystems.
We consider the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity to be an important basis for human wellbeing. However, biodiversity is under threat on many levels, in particular due to changes in habitats as a result of intensive land use and land-use change (in agriculture and forestry).
Despite international efforts, it is currently not possible to quantify the effects on biodiversity in full using life cycle assessments. ifeu is involved in the ongoing development of a methodology, and has proposed options including the “hemeroby” approach (Fehrenbach et al. 2015). We also apply the Life Cycle Environmental Impact Assessment, LC-EIA, which we co-developed, in a wide range of studies in order to evaluate local environmental effects (including the impact on biodiversity).