The role of global dietary transitions for safeguarding biodiversity

Roslyn C. Henry* (Corresponding Author), Peter Alexander, Sam Rabin, P. Anthoni, Mark D.A. Rounsevell, A. Arneth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Diets lower in meat could reduce agricultural expansion and intensification thereby reducing biodiversity impacts. However, land use requirements, associated with alternate diets, in biodiverse regions across different taxa are not fully understood. We use a spatially explicit global food and land system model to address this gap. We quantify land-use change in locations important for biodiversity across taxa and find diets low in animal products reduce agricultural expansion and intensity in regions with high biodiversity. Reducing ruminant meat consumption alone however was not sufficient to reduce fertiliser and irrigation application in biodiverse locations. The results differed according to taxa, emphasising that land-use change effects on biodiversity will be taxon specific. The links shown between global meat consumption and agricultural expansion and intensification in the biodiverse regions of the world indicates the potential to help safeguard biodiverse natural ecosystems through dietary change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101956
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Early online date9 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was supported by the UK’s Global Food Security Programme project Resilience of the UK food system to Global Shocks ( RUGS, BB/N020707/1 ), the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme LUC4C (grant no. 603542 ) and the Helmholtz Association .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Biodiversity
  • Consumption
  • Diet
  • Land use change


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