"The majority of the studies fell through the net in this respect. A mere 115 studies actually measured both parameters for the same areas, making them relevant for our purposes," says Beckmann.

The 449 agricultural areas examined in these studies are, however, distributed around the globe and are located in different climatic zones, and the time they have been in use varies greatly. To be able to use these studies for their analysis, the researchers developed a mathematical model that takes account of these differences and renders the data comparable. They then summarised the respective yield increases and biodiversity losses. "We were able to demonstrate that, on average, intensification of land use gave rise to an increase in yield of 20 per cent, but that this is, at the same time, associated with a nine per cent loss of species," says Beckmann.

To obtain a more detailed insight into the impact of intensification measures, the researchers divided the agricultural areas into three classes of intensity - low, medium and high.