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:

27 August 2019

Length of book:

386 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.

Table of contents

Part 1 Life cycle assessment
1.Life cycle assessment methodology for agriculture: some considerations for best practices: Seyyed Hassan Pishgar-Komleh, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Poland and Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic; Paria Sefeedpari, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Poland; Nathan Pelletier, University of British Columbia, Canada; and Miguel Brandão, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden;
2.Key challenges in modelling of agricultural activities and their environmental impacts: Evelyne A. Groen, Wageningen University, The Netherlands;
3.The use of farm-level models to assess the environmental impact of livestock production: Alasdair Sykes, Cairistiona Topp and Robert Rees, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), UK;
4.Assessing the environmental impact of ruminant production systems: Taro Takahashi, Rothamsted Research and University of Bristol, UK; Graham A. McAuliffe, Rothamsted Research, UK; and Michael R. F. Lee, Rothamsted Research and University of Bristol, UK;
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 impacts of agriculture on freshwater: Stephan Pfister, ETH Zurich, Switzerland; and Sandra Payen, CIRAD, France and AgResearch, New Zealand;
7.Modelling the environmental impacts of pesticides in agriculture: Peter Fantke, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark;
8.Assessing socio-economic impacts of agriculture: Bo P. Weidema, Aalborg University, Denmark;

Part 3 Improvement options
9.Improvement options for agricultural crop production for food, feed and bioenergy: Benoît Gabrielle, AgroParisTech and Université Paris-Saclay, France; and Pietro Goglio, Wageningen University, The Netherlands and Cranfield University, UK;
10.Improving the environmental performance of horticultural production: fruits and vegetables: Cornelius Adewale and David Granatstein, Washington State University, USA;
11.Improving the environmental performance of pig and poultry production: Ben Putman, Martin Christie and Greg Thoma, University of Arkansas, USA;
12.The environmental impact of valorising agricultural by-products: Jerke de Vries and Rik Eweg, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands;