Land consolidation is used in agriculture to improve the livelihoods of farmers and to facilitate a more prosperous and efficient agricultural sector. Allowing farmers to have farms with larger areas of land, enables them to become more competitive. But what is the long-term impact of heavy land consolidation on biological diversity? In this study from Japan, researchers used plant red list data as a case study to attempt to answer this question. By compiling occurrences of 23 previously common but currently threatened plant species from GBIF and other sources, and then examining how these relate to agricultural consolidation, the authors found that threatened plants species were unlikely to inhabit consolidated areas. Unconsolidated agricultural land contained significantly higher numbers of threatened species, suggesting a negative impact on plant biodiversity of the practice.
Osawa T, Kohyama K and Mitsuhashi H (2016) Trade-off relationship between modern agriculture and biodiversity: Heavy consolidation work has a long-term negative impact on plant species diversity. Land Use Policy. Elsevier BV, 78–84. Available at doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.02.001.