Title: A Life-Cycle Approach to Characterising Environmental and Economic Impacts of Multifunctional Land-Use Systems: An Integrated Assessment in the UK
Citation: Sustainability vol. 2 no. 12 p. 3747-3776
Publisher: MDPI Publishing
Publication Year: 2010
JRC N°: JRC61270
ISSN: 2071-1050
URI: http://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/lcsa/
DOI: 10.3390/su2123747
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: An integrated environmental and economic assessment of land use for food, energy and timber in the UK has been performed using environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and economic Life Cycle Costing (LCC), to explore complementary sustainability aspects of alternative land uses. The environmental assessment includes impacts on climate change, ecosystem services and biodiversity, all of which include soil carbon emissions. The systems explored include all processes from cradle to farm ¿gate¿. The crops assessed were wheat and oilseed rape (under both organic and conventional farming systems), Scots Pine, and willow and Miscanthus. Food crops, particularly conventional food crops, are shown to have the highest climate-changing emissions per ha, whereas energy and forestry crops show negative net emissions. The same situation applies to impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity, with carbon storage in biomass playing a larger role than carbon in soils. The energy and forestry crops in this study show an overall beneficial environmental impact, in particular due to soil carbon sequestration, making these land uses the lowest contributors to climate change. Combining this with the non-renewable CO2 emissions displaced will mean that energy crops have an even lower impact.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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