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The concept of sustainable intensification has recently been developed to raise productivity (as distinct from increasing volume of production) while reducing envi- ronmental impacts. This means increasing yields per unit of inputs (including nutrients, water, energy capi- tal and land) as well as per unit of undesirable outputs (such as greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution or loss of biodiversity). It is thus helpful to understand 'intensification' as referring to 'environmental factor productivity' or 'eco-efficiency'. Worldwide, grassland is the most important agroecosystem delivering ecosys- tem services ranging from feed supply for ruminants and soil carbon storage to habitats of biodiversity. However, worldwide, grassland is under threat due to intensified land use and land-use changes from grass to arable. In this article, we (i) highlight ecosystem services of selected grassland biomes abroad of Europe, (ii) show evidence of sustainable as well as non-sus- tainable intensification options in these grassland bio- mes linked to European agriculture by exports of agricultural commodities (e.g. soy) and (iii) derive research strategies for north-west European grassland research and management to match sustainable inten- sification strategies for the grassland-based dairy industry.

Keywords: environmental impacts, forage production, grassland, grazing impacts, sustainable intensification

References | Background

Abstract | Materials and methods | Results | Discussion | Sustainable intensification - changing paradigm in forage production | Global grasslands under threat | Land-use changes in the steppe ecosystem of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, P.R. China | Land-use change in the tropical savannah (Cerrado) of South America | Sustainable intensification of dairy farming - the specific role of grassland- based forage production | References |

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