Biodiversity–production feedback effects lead to intensification traps in agricultural landscapes

Burian, A., Kremen, C., Wu, J.S.-T., Beckmann, M., Bulling, M., Garibaldi, L.A., Krisztin, T. ORCID:, Mehrabi, Z., et al. (2024). Biodiversity–production feedback effects lead to intensification traps in agricultural landscapes. Nature Ecology & Evolution 10.1038/s41559-024-02349-0. (In Press)

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Intensive agriculture with high reliance on pesticides and fertilizers constitutes a major strategy for ‘feeding the world’. However, such conventional intensification is linked to diminishing returns and can result in ‘intensification traps’—production declines triggered by the negative feedback of biodiversity loss at high input levels. Here we developed a novel framework that accounts for biodiversity feedback on crop yields to evaluate the risk and magnitude of intensification traps. Simulations grounded in systematic literature reviews showed that intensification traps emerge in most landscape types, but to a lesser extent in major cereal production systems. Furthermore, small reductions in maximal production (5–10%) could be frequently transmitted into substantial biodiversity gains, resulting in small-loss large-gain trade-offs prevailing across landscape types. However, sensitivity analyses revealed a strong context dependence of trap emergence, inducing substantial uncertainty in the identification of optimal management at the field scale. Hence, we recommend the development of case-specific safety margins for intensification preventing double losses in biodiversity and food security associated with intensification traps.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Integrated Biosphere Futures (IBF)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2024 13:07
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2024 13:07

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