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Tracking the effects of inhabitants on biodiversity in the Netherlands and abroad: an ecological footprint model

Publiekssamenvatting

Nederlanders hebben invloed op de mondiale biodiversiteit binnen en vooral buiten de eigen grenzen. Nederlanders hebben op vele manieren invloed. Toch kan de invloed op de biodiversiteit in een maat worden uitgedrukt. Deze studie presenteert een indicator, waarin de verschillende invloeden worden verdisconteerd in een maat voor het verlies aan biodiversiteit of natuurkwaliteit op het land en in het water. Dit is de ecologische claim. Deze indicator 'ecologische claim' is een verbetering van de zogeheten voetafdruk van Wackernagel en Rees. De methodiek geeft een integrale beoordeling van de effecten op de natuur. Hiermee kunnen opties -of maatregelen- om de aantasting van de biodiversiteit te verminderen worden vergeleken.

Synopsis

Within this study, an improved indicator was developed to assess the ecological footprint of the inhabitants of a country, more specifically, the Netherlands. Here, models for production and consumption, on the one hand, and biodiversity, on the other, were linked. In addition, an operational model was developed and calculations of consumption and the effect of policy options as an example were carried out. In this improved indicator, all influences of the inhabitants of the Netherlands are important. These comprise not only land-use, but also climate change, land distribution, pollution, use of (fresh) water, bio-exploitation (e.g. hunting and fishing) and biological disruption (e.g. introduction of strange species). The effect on biodiversity is expressed in the Natural Capital Index (NCI), which was developed and discussed under the Convention on Biological Diversity. In principle, the NCI enables the assessment of both habitat loss and loss of quality in the remaining natural area as a result of climate change, fisheries and logging. The model links the relationship between the consumption of specific products, sectors and individuals to the global loss of natural capital in terms of a single indicator. Results will be used to support the discussion on the ecological footprint and how it can be operationalized.

 

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