Accounting for biodiversity in Life Cycle Impact Assessments of forestry and agricultural systems – the BioImpact metric
A method called BioImpact has been proposed to account for biodiversity impacts in Australian life cycle assessments (LCA). This project further developed and refined BioImpact using two forestry systems (native forestry and plantation softwood timber production) and two agriculture systems (cropping and rangeland grazing) in NSW.
The study demonstrated BioImpact could discern different biodiversity impacts for different land uses. Indeed, BioImpact was more accurate than existing biodiversity assessment methods such as net primary productivity (NPP) and species richness.
Key advantages of BioImpact are that it is sensitive enough to discern impacts from different land uses, captures different components of biodiversity (e.g. animals, birds, plants or other organisms), is easily applied, and is transparent.
The key benefit of BioImpact to the forest industry is that it will be able to comprehensively and holistically assess the biodiversity impacts of forestry operations.