Article

How much will it cost to save grassland diversity?

Institut fũr Landwirtschaftliche Betriebslehre, Universität Hohenheim, Schloss Osthof-Sũd, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
Biological Conservation (Impact Factor: 4.04). 07/2004; 122(2):263-273. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2004.07.016

ABSTRACT Conservation initiatives are failing to arrest the global loss of biodiversity. From our mechanistic studies of ecology and economics, we suggest that for grazing lands the root cause of this failure is a powerful economic deterrent to measures designed to protect diversity. We identify an exponential relationship between monetary returns and intensification of farming methods over an extremely wide range of grassland productivities and farm systems. At intermediate to high levels of fertility, however, this exponential increase in financial benefit from intensification is associated with a decline in biodiversity and an acceleration of the ecological processes driving species losses from grassland ecosystems.

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