Type: Book

Assessing the environmental impact of agriculture


With over 25 years of experience in life cycle assessment research, Dr Weidema is a Professor at Aalborg University in Denmark, President of the International Life Cycle Academy, founder of 2.-0 LCA consultants and former Chief Scientist for the Ecoinvent database.



Publication date:

23 August 2019

Length of book:

300 pages

ISBN-13: 9781786762283

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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.

Key features

  • Assesses current best practice and methodological issues in life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology for agriculture 
  • Looks in detail at particular types of environmental impact such as nutrient and carbon cycles 
  • Reviews the environmental assessment and optimization of sectors such as crops, ruminant and other livestock production as well as by-products.

Table of contents

Part 1 Life cycle assessment
1.Current best practice in life cycle assessment methodology for agriculture: Miguel Brandão, KTH, Sweden;
2.Key challenges in modelling of agricultural activities and their environmental impacts: Evelyne Groen, Wageningen University, The Netherlands;
3.Modelling nutrient cycles in agriculture and their environmental impacts: Rob Rees;
4.Assessing the environmental impact of livestock production systems: Michael R. F. Lee;
5.Using life cycle assessment to compare intensive versus extensive agricultural systems: Matthias Meier, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland;

Part 2 Modelling particular impacts
6.Modelling physical impacts of agriculture on freshwater and energy balances: Stephan Pfister, ETH Zurich, Switzerland;
7.Modelling the environmental impacts of pesticides in agriculture: Peter Fantke, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark;
8.Including socio-economic impacts of agriculture in life cycle assessments: Bo Weidema, Aalborg University, Denmark;

Part 3 Improvement options
9.Improvement options for agricultural crop production for food, feed, bioenergy, and bioplastics: Benoît Gabrielle, INRA, France;
10.Improvement options for horticultural production of fruits and vegetables: Cornelius Adewale and David Granatstein, Washington State University, USA;
11.Improvement options for pig and poultry production: Greg Thoma, University of Arkansas, USA;
12.Environmental consequences of valorising agricultural by-products: Jerke W. De Vries, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands;