Knowledge for better food systems

Assessing the environmental impact of agriculture

This book summarises current best practice in using life cycle assessment to quantify and improve the environmental impacts of different agricultural systems. 

Publisher’s summary

A prerequisite to improving the sustainability of agriculture are reliable methods to identify and quantify types of environmental impact. This collection summarises current research on the use of life cycle assessment (LCA) and other modelling techniques to measure and improve the sustainability of agriculture.

Part 1 looks at current best practice and key methodological challenges in life cycle assessment. Part 2 reviews ways of modelling particular types of impact, from nutrient and carbon cycles to freshwater balances, energy use, pesticide use and biodiversity. Part 3 reviews the environmental assessment and optimization of sectors such as crops, ruminant and other livestock production as well as by-products.

Assessing the environmental impact of agriculture will be a standard reference for researchers in agricultural and environmental science concerned with understanding and mitigating the environmental impact of agriculture. 

 

Reference

Weidema, B. (ed.) (2019). Assessing the environmental impact of agriculture, Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, Cambridge.

Read more here. See also the Foodsource resource The value and limitations of lifecycle assessment.

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Global

While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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