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Biodiversity and ecosystem services in life cycle impact assessment – Inventory objects or impact categories?

  • Callesen, Ingeborg
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2016
Online Research Database In Technology
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Biodiversity and ecosystem services are both sensitive to the way we utilize and manage ecosystems and landscapes, but they are not unambiguously linked. It is argued that in Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) the Area Of Protection (AoP) ‘natural environment’ should be divided into two AoP's, namely ‘biodiversity’ and ‘ecosystem services’. The AoP biodiversity has more emphasis on intrinsic (existence) values than on utilitarian, functional value perceptions that are covered by the AoP ecosystem services. Ecosystem services can in some aspects be substituted or restored, whereas certain biodiversity losses (e.g. loss of old-growth forest or extinction of a species) are irreversible and thus require a precautionary, conservationist approach. Further, it is suggested that global environmental change scenarios are used in LCIA in order to assess future pressures and potential damages to biodiversity and ecosystem service supplies as a basis for calculating the contribution of a product life cycle to the overall environmental damage.

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