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Portrait of Henrik Smith. Photo.

Henrik Smith


Portrait of Henrik Smith. Photo.

Land sharing versus land sparing—What outcomes are compared between which land uses?


  • William Sidemo Holm
  • Johan Ekroos
  • Henrik G. Smith

Summary, in English

Land sharing versus land sparing describes contrasting strategies to conserve biodiversity while maintaining agricultural production. We comprehensively reviewed empirical studies comparing land-sharing and land-sparing strategies to assess how these were conceptualized and how consequences for biodiver- sity, commodity production, and additional ecosystem services have been quantified. Out of 52 studies, a majority conceptualized land sharing as environmental-friendly agriculture or low-yielding agriculture, and land spar- ing as high-yielding agriculture combined with preserved natural habitats. However, the latter also represented land sharing in several studies, resulting in an overlap in how land sharing and land sparing were conceptualized. Stud- ies focuses on a limited number of taxonomic groups, primarily birds, whereas ecosystem services (mainly carbon storage) and economic outcomes were rarely considered. To facilitate comparisons and on-the-ground implementa- tion, we suggest to recognize the multitude of land-use combinations along a continuum from extreme land sharing to extreme land sparing. This includes being explicit about both the spatial scales of preserved habitats and the features in land sharing or intermediate strategies that are assumed to benefit biodiversity and hamper commodity production. We also suggest that taxonomic groups, ecosystem services, and welfare consequences should be analyzed based on conservation needs and impacts on social–ecological systems.


  • AgriFood Economics Centre, Lund University School of Economics and Management
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
  • Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)
  • Lund university sustainability forum
  • Biodiversity

Publishing year





Conservation Science and Practice





Document type

Journal article




  • Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
  • Ecology



Research group

  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science


  • ISSN: 2578-4854