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      A pilot study of methodology for the development of farmland habitat reports for sustainability assessments

      , 1 , 2

      Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research

      Compuscript

      Biodiversity, farmland wildlife, GIS, habitat, mapping, sustainability

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          Abstract

          The inclusion of farm maps of habitat features is becoming an urgent requirement for assessments of farm-scale sustainability and for compliance or benchmarking with national and international sustainability certification and accreditation schemes. Traditional methods of habitat assessment rely strongly on field-based surveys, which are logistically demanding and relatively costly. We describe and investigate a process that relies on information technology to develop a scalable method that can be applied across multiple farms to reduce the significant logistical challenges and financial costs of traditional habitat surveys. A key impediment to the routine development of farm habitat maps is the lack of information on the type of habitats that occur on a land parcel. Within a pilot project comprising 187 farms, we developed and implemented a process for creating farm habitat reports and investigate the accuracy of visual interpretation of satellite imagery by an ecologist aiming to identify habitat types. We generated customised farm reports that included a colour-coded farm habitat map and habitat information (type, area, relative wildlife importance). Visual assessment of satellite imagery achieved an overall accuracy of 96% in its ability to discriminate between land parcels with habitats categorised by this study as being of either high or low nature conservation value. Assessment of satellite imagery achieved an overall accuracy of 90% in its ability to discriminate among Fossitt level II habitat classes, and an overall accuracy of 81% when using individual habitat classes (Fossitt level III). There was, however, considerable variation in the accuracy associated with individual habitat classes. We conclude that this methodology based on satellite imagery is sufficiently accurate to be used for the incorporation of farmland habitats into farm-scale sustainability assurance, but should, at most, use Fossitt level II habitat classes. We discuss future challenges and opportunities for the development of farm habitat maps and plans for their use in sustainability certification schemes.

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          Most cited references 22

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          International trade drives biodiversity threats in developing nations.

          Human activities are causing Earth's sixth major extinction event-an accelerating decline of the world's stocks of biological diversity at rates 100 to 1,000 times pre-human levels. Historically, low-impact intrusion into species habitats arose from local demands for food, fuel and living space. However, in today's increasingly globalized economy, international trade chains accelerate habitat degradation far removed from the place of consumption. Although adverse effects of economic prosperity and economic inequality have been confirmed, the importance of international trade as a driver of threats to species is poorly understood. Here we show that a significant number of species are threatened as a result of international trade along complex routes, and that, in particular, consumers in developed countries cause threats to species through their demand of commodities that are ultimately produced in developing countries. We linked 25,000 Animalia species threat records from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List to more than 15,000 commodities produced in 187 countries and evaluated more than 5 billion supply chains in terms of their biodiversity impacts. Excluding invasive species, we found that 30% of global species threats are due to international trade. In many developed countries, the consumption of imported coffee, tea, sugar, textiles, fish and other manufactured items causes a biodiversity footprint that is larger abroad than at home. Our results emphasize the importance of examining biodiversity loss as a global systemic phenomenon, instead of looking at the degrading or polluting producers in isolation. We anticipate that our findings will facilitate better regulation, sustainable supply-chain certification and consumer product labelling.
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            How Sustainability Ratings Might Deter ‘Greenwashing’: A Closer Look at Ethical Corporate Communication

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              Rule-based classification of multi-temporal satellite imagery for habitat and agricultural land cover mapping

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                ijafr
                ijafr
                Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research
                IJAFR
                Compuscript (Ireland )
                0791-6833
                21 November 2020
                Affiliations
                1Teagasc, Environment Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, Wexford, Ireland
                2Forest, Environmental Research and Services Ltd., Sillogue, Kilberry, Navan, Co. Meath, Ireland
                Author notes
                †Corresponding author: J.A. Finn, E-mail: John.finn@ 123456teagasc.ie
                Article
                10.15212/ijafr-2020-0103
                Copyright © 2020 Finn and Moran

                This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 IE.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, References: 24, Pages: 14
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