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Sustainability Assessment of Land Use Systems
Land use systems build an interface between numerous sustainable development goals, including food security, maintenance of terrestrial ecosystems, and energy security. A sustainability assessment of land use systems requires a thorough understanding of interlinkages between land management practices, geophysical conditions, and local to global sustainability targets and values. Assessment methods and indicators need to be adapted to different system levels and spatio-temporal settings. This includes the farming system, for which cost- and resource efficiency is essential. At landscape level, ecosystem services and resource efficiency are two important concepts, the latter in terms of water, energy, land and raw material. At national and international levels, ethical considerations also deliver benchmarks for sustainability, for example as theoretical basis for the precautionary principle, for intergenerational equity, for assessing the local contribution to global sustainable development goals. It is yet a conceptual challenge to downscale such concepts to local decision making and to analyze local to global and short term to long term services provided by land use. In this presentation an analytical framework for sustainability assessment will be presented using examples of agricultural land use.