Pressure on agricultural land is increasing because of the current climate trends and rising demand for animal-source food. The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) currently uses the feed conversion ratio as a proxy for land-use. Our aim was to find the most appropriate indicator to measure land-use efficiency of livestock systems in practice by TSC.
A structured literature research was conducted to define land-use efficiency, to identify a list of indicators for land-use efficiency described in literature, and to select a list of criteria to evaluate these existing indicators. After the literature research, the author scored each indicator for the yielded criteria. Scores varied from 1 and 5, where feed conversion ratio (current indicator of TSC) was given a value 3 (i.e. neutral number). To find the most appropriate indicator for TSC, nine TSC researchers were asked to rank the importance of various criteria, by filling in a pairwise comparison test. An analytic hierarchy process (AHP) model was used on the pairwise comparison test to obtain weighing numbers and thereby a ranking of the criteria according to their importance for TSC researchers. Weighing numbers were applied to the evaluation score to determine the most appropriate indicator for TSC.
Land-use efficiency was defined to be the most efficient way to produce human digestible protein or energy, from a certain amount of land. The indicators finally selected were: 1) feed conversion ratio (FCR), 2) protein conversion ratio (PCR), 3) energy conversion ratio (ECR), 4) life cycle assessment (LCA), 5) ecological footprint (EF), 6) land-use ratio (LUR), whereas the following criteria were selected: relevance, validity, measurability, comprehensibility, sensitivity and reference values. The ranking of the criteria resulted in measurability, relevance, validity, comprehensibility, sensitivity and reference values respectively.
PCR is identified as the best indicator for TSC after applying the weighing numbers to the evaluation scores.
Student: AJC Henst
Supervisor: prof dr ir I de Boer