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EU Concerted Action report HARMONISATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT FOR AGRICULTURE Final Report. Concerted Action AIR3-CT94-2028

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Abstract

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) evaluates the environmental burdens associated with a product, process, or activity including the entire life-cycle from extracting and processing raw materials to final disposal. LCA was primarily developed in applications to industrial production systems. Several groups in Europe were beginning to apply LCA to agricultural systems. This Concerted Action was set up to investigate how LCA may be applied to agricultural production, to identify methodological difficulties which require further research and to harmonise the approaches of the groups listed in Appendix 1. Three alternative methods of growing wheat were used as case studies and defined in a way that introduced as many as possible of the issues requiring harmonisation and resolution. Initial calculations by the groups showed there were indeed considerable differences needing harmonisation. For each LCA point there is a general conclusion for agriculture and a conclusion for this study.

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... The software used for the LCA was SimaPro version 9.1.0.8 (Pre Sustainability, 2020). The emission factors for the operations were taken from the ecoinvent database (v.3.7.1), except for the on-farm emissions of fertilizers, which were taken from the following models, as they were considered more realistic and representative: (i) N-emissions to air: NH 3 emissions = 3% total N applied [52], N 2 O emissions = 1.25% total N applied [52], and NO x emissions = 10% total N 2 O emissions [53]; and (ii) NO 3 − emissions to water: 5% total N applied [54]. ...
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Crop diversification is becoming increasingly important for preserving soil and ecosystems' health and, subsequently, crop productivity and sustainability. Intercropping practices adopted in monocultural woody crops, with herbaceous crops covering the otherwise bare alleyways, foster ecological interactions and can provide both environmental and economic advantages. In this study, intercropping practices were implemented in a traditional mandarin orchard in south-eastern Spain, which was monitored for three years to assess their impact on the environmental footprint and profitability. The footprint was quantified with a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment (LCA), while the costs and revenues assessment was based on materials, labor, and machinery used in the trial. The calculated LCA indicators evidenced that, although the cultivated surface area increases with the integration of the intercrops (fava bean, purslane, cowpea, and barley/vetch mix), this does not imply any additional detrimental effects (resource depletion, acidification, eutrophication, global warming). The economic analysis showed that while intercrops may involve additional production costs, the correct choice of intercrops, purslane, and fava bean, in this case, can reduce the market risks for farmers. Overall, this study shows that positive environmental and economic impacts are to be expected of co-integrated herbaceous crops within the same field as mandarin trees.
... Regarding emissions of the composting process, a lack of literature was observed, for the case of study. Emissions of the composting process (NH 3 and N 2 O) were calculated according to [46,47] guidelines. Likewise, the emissions reported by [48] were used as references for the calculation of the environmental impacts: 168 kg of CO 2 ton of manure −1 , 8.1 kg of CH4 ton of manure −1 , and 0.190 kg of N 2 O ton of manure −1 . ...
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The circular economy is proposed as a promising strategy for both dealing with the current environmental issues and providing socio-economic benefits. The transformation of organic waste materials into a reusable product for crops is a way to contribute to the change from a linear economy to a circular model. Manure reuse as fertilizer is the most adequate option for the management of such material. This study aims to highlight the environmental impact assessment of two irrigation systems (i.e. integrated and dripping) of a tomato crop fertilized with manure compost and the integration of life assessment methodology with a circular economy. The life cycle assessment methodology was used to calculate the environmental impacts through the whole life cycle. Life cycle assessment is a methodology to assess the environmental performance of a product system in a circular approach. The research focused on the climate change impact category and the water applied to crops to know the effect on the yield of fruits. Overall, comparing two crop seasons, it was observed that a greater water supply contributed to higher yield fruit for the two irrigation systems studied. On the other hand, in regard to the environmental impacts, it was observed that the integrated system showed a better environmental performance than the dripping system for all categories assessed. Considering that livestock manure is transformed into organic fertilizer which is reintroduced into the agronomical system through the application to a tomato crop, a circularity indicator of 70% (organic fertilizer from the composting process × total mass of manure−1) was obtained in this agronomic system.
... The CED M was estimated at 55% of the energy consumption for CED P following Fluck (1985), and a single benchmark of 0.5 MJ kg −1 for CED D resulting from metal scrap and landfilling of non-recyclable materials was assumed (Scholz et al. 1998). The machinery lifetime and workload were derived from information provided by the farmer or were supplemented from literature data (e.g., Audsley et al. (1997), Mikkola and Ahokas (2010)). In addition to the energy efficiency of a process, which can be defined as the quotient of the energy output and process-related CED (Scholz et al. 1998), we also calculated the area-related energy gain (EG) and the net energy gain (NEG). ...
Article
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... Briefly, we considered three environmental indicators measured per kilogram of each item: the GHGe (including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions measured in kilograms of CO 2 -equivalent (kgCO 2 e) by the global warming potential for a 100 yr time horizon), the cumulative energy demand in megajoules and the land occupation (in m 2 ) and defined as the area required to produce raw agricultural products without considering the duration of land use. Environmental indicators were estimated using standardized procedures for life cycle analysis (LCA) computation [45][46][47][48][49] . The DIALECTE database, which comprises 2,000 French farms, half of which are organic, was used to calculate the environmental impacts of agricultural raw product at the farm gate. ...
Article
Introduction et but de l’étude Face aux enjeux de durabilité, il est primordial d’identifier des régimes alimentaires qui satisfassent les besoins nutritionnels, soient acceptables et réduisent les impacts de leur production sur la santé et l’environnement. L’objectif de ce travail était de caractériser, par une méthode originale d’optimisation multicritère, les leviers d’amélioration de la durabilité des régimes alimentaires. Matériel et méthodes L’optimisation a été réalisée sur les régimes de 12 166 participants de la cohorte NutriNet-Santé, sur trois critères et de manière hiérarchique. Pour chaque individu, nous avons d’abord évalué l’amélioration potentielle maximale de l’impact environnemental (pReCIPE, incluant émissions de gaz à effet de serre, demande en énergie et occupation des terres), puis l’amélioration potentielle de la contribution des aliments biologiques (%Bio) sous contrainte d’une amélioration du pReCIPE d’au moins p% de son amélioration maximale. Nous avons alors optimisé chaque régime pour qu’il soit le plus proche du régime observé (minimisation des écarts de consommation), sous contrainte que pReCIPE et %Bio soient améliorés d’au moins p% de leurs améliorations potentielles précédemment estimées. Nous avons conduit 5 scénarios de rupture croissante, où p% était fixé à 25 %, 50 %, 70 %, 80 % et 90 %, tout en incluant des contraintes sur les quantités maximales d’items, les apports énergétiques et nutritionnels et le prix. Les résultats sont présentés par tertile de score provégétarien initial. Résultats et analyse statistique Dans les régimes optimisés, les contributions des fruits, légumes, féculents et soja augmentaient au détriment de celles des aliments d’origine animale et des aliments gras et sucrés ou salés. Ces changements s’accentuaient progressivement des scénarios conservateurs vers ceux de rupture, avec par exemple la consommation de viande qui passait de 58,4 à 2,7 g/j. Les contributions des noix et légumineuses augmentaient dans les scénarios les plus conservateurs, mais diminuaient au profit de celle du soja dans les scénarios de rupture. Le niveau de végétalisation initial du régime affectait uniquement l’amplitude mais pas la nature des modifications de composition de régime. Des scénarios conservateurs jusqu’à ceux de rupture, les émissions de gaz à effet de serre des régimes allaient de 1,04 à 0,20 tonnes d’équivalents carbone par an et par personne, la réduction des surfaces occupées pour la production alimentaire variait de 41 % à 80 %, et celle de la demande en énergie de 47 % à 75 %. Conclusion Le régime moyen du scénario le plus conservateur (25 % d’amélioration) apparaît insuffisant pour répondre aux objectifs climatiques. Les scénarios plus en rupture permettraient de mieux répondre aux enjeux environnementaux tout en restant économiquement accessibles et en couvrant les besoins nutritionnels. Les différents scénarios restent à départager en fonction des objectifs de durabilité et des efforts à opérer par l’alimentation. De plus, ces régimes théoriques devront être confrontés aux réalités agronomiques.
... V has a faster decomposition rate, so no significant C sequestration or storage in soil is expected by V, and this is why we only are going to calculate GHG emissions based in the biochar potential effect. Nevertheless, as peat volume substituted by V has a CO 2 sink role and, in addition, V contains mineral nutrients that potentially reduce the use of inorganic fertilizers contributing to reduce CO 2 emissions and energy consumption (Audsley et al., 2003), V has been included in our calculation. Thus, this study is focused on the biochar effect to calculate how gaseous emissions associated with peat decomposition can at least be avoided if peat is substituted by B. The data presented herein shows that it is possible to As shown in the present work, V and B can be mixed together in a substrate (hypothesis a). ...
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Full document at http://hdl.handle.net/10272/17043 The use of organic materials as compost, vermicompost, and biochar as peat substitutes in the ornamental containerized bedding plant production is an interesting biotic strategy to store carbon in garden soil. In the case of biochar the stored C could be maintained for centuries improving the life cycle analysis of this process. Severa! studies have produced interesting results, but additional research is needed to evaluate those materials and how to combine them as compost-biochar or vermicompost-biochar which may produce similar or better plants while also similarly or better support the transplanting process. This research aims to contrast the hypothesis that is possible to grow commercial quality plants of Petunia. hybrida and Pelargonium peltatum using biochar as partía! substitute of peat based growing media. Those plants also will be able to adapt themselves conveniently to a garden soil after being transplanted. Finally will contrast the hypothesis that is possible to diminish nutrients leachate when growing both species using biochar and vermicompost as peat based substrate partial substitute. To contrast these hypothesis three different comparative greenhouse studies were conducted to assess the suitability of biochar and vermicompost as partial substitutes for peat-based growing media for ornamental plant production The three trials mentioned above were therefore defined. After finishing the first experiment it has been possible to affirm categorically that it is possible to cultivate bedding ornamental plants such as petunia and geranium in container with good commercial quality using different mixtures of biochar / vermicompost with a substrate based on peat. The calculation made about potential storage in soil, suggests that it would be possible for long periods of time to store first in the plant 's container and then in urban garden 's soil after transplanting, up to 88.74 g of CO,e per 800 cm3 container. The second experiment has demonstrated that Petunia and Pelargonium plants, grown with the best biochar / vermicompost substrate mixtures of the first experiment, showed a similar or better physiological response than the plants grown on a substrate based on a commercial peat that was used as control. In the third experiment it has been seen that by using these better mixtures, it is possible to reduce both the volume of leachate from the irrigation and the amount of nitrates contained therein, by including biochar / vermicompost in the mixture with the control substrate. It was also verified that the incorporation of biochar to the substrate can suppose an extra source of potassium fertilization that can be considered when planning the fertilization of the crop. These results obtained with different mixtures of biochar and vermicompost may be of interest to those producers of bedding ornamental plants in container who wish to: • reduce the consumption of peat for the production of ornamental plants in containers. • reduce the carbon footprint , and incorporate the owners of gardens where bedding plants can grow to the global biotic strategy of carbon sequestration in soil for long periods of time to compensating in this way the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and thus contribute to the mitigation of climate change. • reduce nitrate 's leachate of in this productive sector. In this context it has to be indicatively noted, that if we consider that around 11 million metric tons of peat in horticulture are consumed every year in the world. If it is also considered that 50 o/o of this amount was used in floriculture and 20 o/o in container production, then it would be possible to store carbon in urban gardening soil for long periods of time for a maximum value of one million metric tons per year, just by partially replacing the neat of the usual substrate with a mixture of 20 o/o vermicomoost and 12 o/o biochar. El uso de materiales orgánicos como compost, vermicompost y biochar usados como sustitutos de turba en la producción de plantas ornamentales en contenedor, es una estrategia biótica interesante para almacenar carbono en el suelo de los jardines. En el caso del biochar, la cantidad de almacenado podría mantenerse durante siglos, mejorando el análisis del ciclo de vida de este proceso. Varios estudios han producido resultados interesantes, pero se necesita investigación adicional para evaluar esos materiales y cómo combinarlos como compost-biochar o vermicompost-biochar de forma que puedan producir plantas similares o mejores y al mismo tiempo que respalden el proceso de trasplante también de manera similar o mejorada. Esta investigación pretende contrastar la hipótesis de que es posible cultivar plantas de calidad comercial de Petunia hybrida y Pelargonium pe!tatum utilizando biochar como sustituto parcial de sustratos basados en turba. Esas plantas también podrán adaptarse convenientemente a un suelo de jardín después de ser trasplantadas. Finalmente, se contrastará la hipótesis de que es posible disminuir los lixiviados de nutrientes al cultivar ambas especies utilizando biochar y vermicompost como un sustituto parcial de sustrato a base de turba. Para contrastar estas hipótesis, se realizaron tres estudios comparativos de invernadero diferentes para evaluar la idoneidad de biochar y vermicompost como sustitutos parciales de los medios de cultivo basados en turba para la producción de plantas ornamentales. El grupo de estudios expuesto anteriormente ha generado una serie de conclusiones que se detallan a continuación. El estudio de revisión que informa sobre el estado del arte en este tema, concluyó con la necesidad de llevar a cabo ensayos de investigación dirigidos a verificar la viabilidad del uso combinado de vermicompost y biochar para la sustitución parcial de turba en la producción de plantas ornamentales en contenedor. Los principales resultados del primer experimento fueron que es posible cultivar plantas ornamentales de arriate como la petunia y el geranio en contenedores, con calidad comercial, utilizando diferentes mezclas de biochar / vermicompost añadidos al sustrato con base de turba. Con este cambio en el sustrato sería posible almacenar hasta 88,74 g de C02e por contenedor de 800 cm3 durante largos períodos de tiempo, primero en el contenedor donde se ha multiplicado la planta y luego en el suelo después del trasplante de la misma. En el segundo experimento, las plantas de Petunia y de Pelargonium cultivadas en las mezclas de sustratos con biochar / vermicompost que mejor rendimiento mostraron en el primer estudio tuvieron, además, una respuesta fisiológica similar o mejor que las plantas cultivadas en el sustrato comercial basado en turba utilizado como control. Finalmente, en el tercer experimento se confirmaron una reducción en el volumen de lixiviados y también una disminución en la cantidad de los nitratos en los mismos debido a la inclusión de biochar / vermicompost en los sustratos empleados. Por otra parte se verificó que la adición de biochar puede ser una fuente de fertilizante de potasio. Estos resultados obtenidos con diferentes mezclas de biochar y vermicompost pueden ser de interés para aquellos que desean: • reducir el consumo de turba para la producción de plantas ornamentales en contenedor. • reducir la huella de carbono, e incorporar a los poseedores de jardines donde puedan crecer plantas de arriate a la estrategia biótica global de secuestro de carbono en suelo por largos periodos de tiempo para compensar de este modo la emisión de gases de efecto invernadero a la atmosfera y así contribuir a la mitigación del cambio climático. • reducir los lixiviados de nitratos de este sector comercial productivo. Además, a modo indicativo, se puede señalar que considerando que cada año se consumen 11 millones de toneladas de turba en la horticultura. Si el 50 o/o fuera en floricultura y el 20 o/o en contenedor y si la turba fuera reemplazada por una mezcla de 20 o/o de vermicompost y 12 o/o de biochar, habría un posible almacenamiento máximo de carbono en suelo de un millón de toneladas por año. http://hdl.handle.net/10272/17043
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