Abstract

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment identified habitat loss due to the extensive growth of agriculture as the primary driver of biodiversity loss. One implication of this is that agricultural intensification has the potential to reduce threats to wild species. In this paper we consider the evidence for differences in the threat to biodiversity posed by the intensive and extensive growth of agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using data on numbers of endemic species weighted by overall threat status, we analyze the impact of agricultural productivity growth and agricultural land conversion in 27 countries on threats to mammal, bird and plant species over two time scales: one covering the period since agricultural and environmental records began, the other covering the last decade. We find that the extensive growth of agriculture is associated with increasing threats to biodiversity at all time scales. While intensification is associated with a significant reduction in the threat to all species on long time scales, however, we find that it has no significant effect on shorter time scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number095015
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 24 2015

Fingerprint

Africa South of the Sahara
Biodiversity
Agriculture
biodiversity
timescale
agriculture
Growth
Ecosystem
agricultural intensification
Mammals
Birds
habitat loss
endemic species
Ecosystems
mammal
agricultural land
Productivity
productivity
Africa
ecosystem

Keywords

  • agriculture
  • biodiversity
  • conservation
  • extensive growth
  • intensive growth
  • land sharing
  • land sparing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Agriculture and the threat to biodiversity in sub-saharan Africa. / Perrings, Charles; Halkos, George.

In: Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 10, No. 9, 095015, 24.09.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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