Synergies between nature conservation and climate protection in the area of land use
Agriculture and land use changes contribute to a relevant degree to global warming and causing almost a quarter of Germany's greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time agriculture has a significant impact on nature conservation aspects such as biodiversity. About 50 % of all European animal and plant species depend on agricultural habitats. The main reasons for the loss of biodiversity in the agricultural landscape in recent decades are the intensification of agricultural land use and land use changes (e.g. urban sprawl, conversion of grassland).
The National Biomass Action Plan is an important instrument for climate mitigation with great influence on land use. However, it has several direct negative side effects on biodiversity (e.g. conversion of grassland or the shorter crop rotation by growing maize as a substrate for biogas digester). In addition, the additional demand for biogenic raw materials and the scarcity of agricultural land lead to an intensification on the remaining area (cf. rising rents for agricultural land) and possibly to the cultivation of new areas (indirect land use change (ILUC).
The current climate and nature protection policy seems so far little coordinated. Consequently, as shown by the example of the promotion of renewable resources, there are a number of conflicts between climate protection and nature conservation objectives. Sustainable land use systems can protect the climate (e.g. sink function, emission reduction, replacement of fossil fuels) and provide nature conservancy values (e.g. higher species richness on extensively used areas, improved erosion and water pollution control under perennial soil cover).