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An indicator-based tool to assess environmental impacts of multi-specific swards

Plantureux S., Dumont B., Rossignol N., Taugourdeau S., Huguenin-Elie O.. 2014. In : A. Hopkins (ed.), R.P. Collins (ed.), M.D. Fraserovstad (ed.), V.R. King (ed.), D.C. Lloyd (ed.), J.M. Moorby (ed.), P.R.H. Robson (ed.). EGF at 50: The future of European Grasslands: Procceding of the 25th EGF General Meeting. Zurich : European Grassland Federation, p. 756-758. (Grassland science in Europe, 19). General Meeting of the European Grassland Federatio, 2014-09-07/2014-09-11, Aberystwyth (Royaume-Uni).

We developed a set of indicators to assess the impacts of grassland plant diversity and management on the abundance and diversity of six animal taxa (biodiversity indicators), on soi!, water and air quality, and energy consumption (abiotic indicators). The methodology combines multi-criteria decision trees with fuzzy partitioning, allowing to deal with different types of information (qualitative or quantitative, more or Jess accurate knowledge). Biodiversity indicators were calculated from simple and easily accessible input variables (main management features and botanical composition), according to an analysis of the literature, and could be partly validated at plot scale. Abiotic indicators were calculated as mode! outputs at fann scale. Combining these two types of indicators allows assessment of the overall environmental footprint of grassland management practices and discussion of the benefits provided by multispecies swards. Here, we report major advances and obstacles closely linked to the available scientific and technical knowledge.

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