Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Nitrogen flows in global pork supply chains and potential improvement from feeding swill to pigs
    Uwizeye, Aimable ; Gerber, Pierre J. ; Opio, Carolyn I. ; Tempio, Giuseppe ; Mottet, Anne ; Makkar, Harinder P.S. ; Falcucci, Alessandra ; Steinfeld, Henning ; Boer, Imke J.M. de - \ 2019
    Resources, Conservation and Recycling 146 (2019). - ISSN 0921-3449 - p. 168 - 179.
    Animal production - Food wastes - Life cycle - Livestock - Nitrogen use efficiency

    The global pork sector contributes to food security and supports livelihoods for millions of households but also causes nitrogen (N) pollution. Here we assess N flows, losses, and N use indicators for global pork supply chains, from “cradle-to-primary-processing-gate” and for three production systems: the backyard, intermediate and industrial systems. Subsequently, we evaluate the effects of feeding swill to industrial pigs on N flows and land use. To produce 3.5 Tg N of pork globally, 14.7 Tg N are lost into the environment, of which 68% is lost to watercourses in the form of nitrates and organic N and the reminder emitted to the atmosphere as N-gas (e.g., NH 3 , NOx and N2O). We found that the efficiency of N use, hotspot and magnitude of N losses per unit of area depend chiefly on the region (agro-ecological and economic context), origin of feed, and manure management systems. Swill feeding increases N use efficiency and reduces N losses at the feed production stage. It achieves a saving of 31 Mt of soybeans and 20 Mt of grains on dry matter basis, equivalent to 16 M ha of land used. Its adoption would require innovative policies to preserve food safety and public health. Future research may explore the feasibility and requirements to adopt swill feeding at a country level and may investigate potential impacts on other sustainability objectives.

    The role of globalizing livestock supply chains in the disruption of global nitrogen cycles
    Uwizeye, U.A. ; Gerber, Pierre ; Opio, C.I. ; Falcucci, Alessandra ; Tempio, Giuseppe ; Teillard, Félix ; Steinfeld, Henning ; Schulte, Rogier ; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2018
    The globalizing livestock sector has disrupted the nitrogen (N) cycle and flows leading to increased crop and animal-sourced food production, but also risks for the environment and human health. Previous researches have analyzed global N flows and losses from livestock systems focusing on animal production— including manure management and on-farm feed production — but excluding traded feed and animal products, transport, and post-farm activities, in which substantial N losses take place. Additional analyses considered the livestock as an aggregated component of food systems, without analyzing in details the sources and fate of N losses within the sector. Analyzing N flows and losses from the livestock is essential to understand their contributions to the transgression of the planetary boundaries. We filled this knowledge gap by assessing the contribution of globalized livestock supply chains to anthropogenic N losses on the global, regional and national scale for 2010. This study focused on 237 countries and territories grouped in 10 regions, using an updated version of the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM). GLEAM was coupled with an explicit indicator framework, which analyses N inputs (e.g. synthetic fertilizer, biological N fixation), N outputs (e.g. feed, animal products), N loss compounds (e.g. ammonia (NH3), nitrous oxide (N2O), nitrates (NO3-)) and N recycled (e.g. manure, crop residues) along the chain and reconnects geographically distant supply chain stages when examining the efficiency of N use. This study relied on the most detailed geo-referenced information on N flows, at a resolution circa 10 x 10 km at the equator. The results of this study provide a detailed analysis of the magnitude, sources and pathways of N to stimulate international efforts in designing improvement pathways and informing policy dialogue while supporting evidence-based decisions to shape the future of livestock sector.
    Meeting the dual demand for animal products and climate change mitigation by narrowing yield gaps
    Linden, A. van der; Gerber, P.J. ; Ven, G.W.J. van de; Ittersum, M.K. van; Boer, I.J.M. de; Oosting, S.J. - \ 2018
    In: Book of abstracts of the 69th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science. - Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers (Book of abstracts 24) - ISBN 9789086863235 - p. 340 - 340.
    Defining a land boundary for sustainable livestock consumption
    Zanten, Hannah H.E. van; Herrero, Mario ; Hal, Ollie van; Röös, Elin ; Muller, Adrian ; Garnett, Tara ; Gerber, Pierre J. ; Schader, Christian ; Boer, Imke J.M. De - \ 2018
    Global Change Biology 24 (2018)9. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 4185 - 4194.
    animal source food - greenhouse gas emissions - land boundary - land use - leftovers - livestock - recycling biomass - sustainable consumption - sustainable development goals

    The need for more sustainable production and consumption of animal source food (ASF) is central to the achievement of the sustainable development goals: within this context, wise use of land is a core challenge and concern. A key question in feeding the future world is: how much ASF should we eat? We demonstrate that livestock raised under the circular economy concept could provide a significant, nonnegligible part (9–23 g/per capita) of our daily protein needs (~50–60 g/per capita). This livestock then would not consume human-edible biomass, such as grains, but mainly convert leftovers from arable land and grass resources into valuable food, implying that production of livestock feed is largely decoupled from arable land. The availability of these biomass streams for livestock then determines the boundaries for livestock production and consumption. Under this concept, the competition for land for feed or food would be minimized and compared to no ASF, including some ASF in the human diet could free up about one quarter of global arable land. Our results also demonstrate that restricted growth in consumption of ASF in Africa and Asia would be feasible under these boundary conditions, while reductions in the rest of the world would be necessary to meet land use sustainability criteria. Managing this expansion and contraction of future consumption of ASF is essential for achieving sustainable nutrition security.

    Assessing the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation effect of removing bovine trypanosomiasis in Eastern Africa
    MacLeod, Michael ; Eory, Vera ; Wint, William ; Shaw, Alexandra ; Gerber, Pierre J. ; Cecchi, Giuliano ; Mattioli, Raffaele ; Sykes, Alasdair ; Robinson, Timothy - \ 2018
    Sustainability 10 (2018)5. - ISSN 2071-1050
    Cattle health - Climate change - GLEAM - Livestock modelling - Sustainable intensification

    Increasing the production of meat and milk within sub-Saharan Africa should provide significant food security benefits. However, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions represent a challenge, as cattle production in the region typically has high emissions intensity (EI), i.e., high rates of GHG emissions per unit of output. The high EI is caused by the relatively low production efficiencies in the region, which are in turn partly due to endemic cattle diseases. In theory, improved disease control should increase the efficiency and decrease the emissions intensity of livestock production; however quantitative analysis of the potential GHG mitigation effects of improved disease control in Africa is lacking. This paper seeks to respond to this by using a hybrid modelling approach to quantify the production and emissions effects of removing trypanosomiasis from East African cattle production systems. The emissions are quantified for each cattle production system using an excel version of GLEAM, the Food and Agriculture Organization's Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model. The results indicate that removing trypanosomiasis leads to a reduction in the emissions intensity per unit of protein produced of between 0% and 8%, driven mainly by the increases in milk yields and cow fertility rates. Despite the limitations, it is argued that the approach provides considerable scope for modelling the GHG impacts of disease interventions.

    Invited review: A position on the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM)
    MacLeod, M.J. ; Vellinga, T. ; Opio, C. ; Falcucci, A. ; Tempio, G. ; Henderson, B. ; Makkar, H. ; Mottet, A. ; Robinson, T. ; Steinfeld, H. ; Gerber, P.J. - \ 2018
    Animal 12 (2018)2. - ISSN 1751-7311 - p. 383 - 397.
    climate change - environmental assessment - life-cycle analysis - livestock - models
    The livestock sector is one of the fastest growing subsectors of the agricultural economy and, while it makes a major contribution to global food supply and economic development, it also consumes significant amounts of natural resources and alters the environment. In order to improve our understanding of the global environmental impact of livestock supply chains, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has developed the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM). The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of GLEAM. Specifically, it explains the model architecture, methods and functionality, that is the types of analysis that the model can perform. The model focuses primarily on the quantification of greenhouse gases emissions arising from the production of the 11 main livestock commodities. The model inputs and outputs are managed and produced as raster data sets, with spatial resolution of 0.05 decimal degrees. The Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model v1.0 consists of five distinct modules: (a) the Herd Module; (b) the Manure Module; (c) the Feed Module; (d) the System Module; (e) the Allocation Module. In terms of the modelling approach, GLEAM has several advantages. For example spatial information on livestock distributions and crops yields enables rations to be derived that reflect the local availability of feed resources in developing countries. The Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model also contains a herd model that enables livestock statistics to be disaggregated and variation in livestock performance and management to be captured. Priorities for future development of GLEAM include: improving data quality and the methods used to perform emissions calculations; extending the scope of the model to include selected additional environmental impacts and to enable predictive modelling; and improving the utility of GLEAM output.
    The power and pain of market-based carbon policies : a global application to greenhouse gases from ruminant livestock production
    Henderson, B. ; Golub, A. ; Pambudi, D. ; Hertel, T. ; Godde, C. ; Herrero, M. ; Cacho, O. ; Gerber, P. - \ 2018
    Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 23 (2018)3. - ISSN 1381-2386 - p. 349 - 369.
    Carbon policy - Greenhouse gases - Mitigation - Ruminants
    The objectives of this research are to assess the greenhouse gas mitigation potential of carbon policies applied to the ruminant livestock sector [inclusive of the major ruminant species—cattle (Bos Taurus and Bos indicus), sheep (Ovis aries), and goats (Capra hircus)]—with particular emphasis on understanding the adjustment challenges posed by such policies. We show that market-based mitigation policies can greatly amplify the mitigation potential identified in marginal abatement cost studies by harnessing powerful market forces such as product substitution and trade. We estimate that a carbon tax of US$20 per metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions could mitigate 626 metric megatons of CO2 equivalent ruminant emissions per year (MtCO2-eq year−1). This policy would also incentivize a restructuring of cattle production, increasing the share of cattle meat coming from the multiproduct dairy sector compared to more emission intensive, single purpose beef sector. The mitigation potential from this simple policy represents an upper bound because it causes ruminant-based food production to fall and is therefore likely to be politically unpopular. In the spirit of the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC 2015), which expresses the ambition of reducing agricultural emissions while protecting food production, we assess a carbon policy that applies both a carbon tax and a subsidy to producers to manage the tradeoff between food production and mitigation. The policy maintains ruminant production and consumption levels in all regions, but for a much lower global emission reduction of 185 MtCO2-eq year−1. This research provides policymakers with a quantitative basis for designing policies that attempt to trade off mitigation effectiveness with producer and consumer welfare.
    Selective improvement of global datasets for the computation of locally relevant environmental indicators : A method based on global sensitivity analysis
    Uwizeye, U.A. ; Gerber, Pierre J. ; Groen, Evelyne A. ; Dolman, Mark A. ; Schulte, Rogier P.O. ; Boer, Imke J.M. de - \ 2017
    Environmental Modelling & Software 96 (2017). - ISSN 1364-8152 - p. 58 - 67.
    Decision-making - Environmental modelling - Global datasets - Global sensitivity analysis

    Several global datasets are available for environmental modelling, but information provided is hardly used for decision-making at a country-level. Here we propose a method, which relies on global sensitivity analysis, to improve local relevance of environmental indicators from global datasets. This method is tested on nitrogen use framework for two contrasted case studies: mixed dairy supply chains in Rwanda and the Netherlands. To achieve this, we evaluate how indicators computed from a global dataset diverge from same indicators computed from survey data. Second, we identify important input parameters that explain the variance of indicators. Subsequently, we fix non-important ones to their average values and substitute important ones with field data. Finally, we evaluate the effect of this substitution. This method improved relevance of nitrogen use indicators; therefore, it can be applied to any environmental modelling using global datasets to improve their relevance by prioritizing important parameters for additional data collection.

    Mitigating Greenhouse Gas and Ammonia Emissions from Swine Manure Management : A System Analysis
    Wang, Yue ; Dong, Hongmin ; Zhu, Zhiping ; Gerber, Pierre J. ; Xin, Hongwei ; Smith, Pete ; Opio, Carolyn ; Steinfeld, Henning ; Chadwick, Dave - \ 2017
    Environmental Science and Technology 51 (2017)8. - ISSN 0013-936X - p. 4503 - 4511.

    Gaseous emissions from animal manure are considerable contributor to global ammonia (NH3) and agriculture greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Given the demand to promote mitigation of GHGs while fostering sustainable development of the Paris Agreement, an improvement of management systems is urgently needed to help mitigate climate change and to improve atmospheric air quality. This study presents a meta-analysis and an integrated assessment of gaseous emissions and mitigation potentials for NH3, methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) (direct and indirect) losses from four typical swine manure management systems (MMSs). The resultant emission factors and mitigation efficiencies allow GHG and NH3 emissions to be estimated, as well as mitigation potentials for different stages of swine operation. In particular, changing swine manure management from liquid systems to solid-liquid separation systems, coupled with mitigation measures, could simultaneously reduce GHG emissions by 65% and NH3 emissions by 78%. The resultant potential reduction in GHG emissions from China's pig production alone is greater than the entire GHG emissions from agricultural sector of France, Australia, or Germany, while the reduction in NH3 emissions is equivalent to 40% of the total NH3 emissions from the European Union. Thus, improved swine manure management could have a significant impact on global environment issues.

    Livestock : On our plates or eating at our table? A new analysis of the feed/food debate
    Mottet, Anne ; Haan, Cees de; Falcucci, Alessandra ; Tempio, Giuseppe ; Opio, Carolyn ; Gerber, P.J. - \ 2017
    Global Food Security 14 (2017). - ISSN 2211-9124 - p. 1 - 8.
    Feed conversion ratios - Feed/food competition - Global livestock feed rations - Monogastrics - Ruminants

    Livestock contribute to food security by supplying essential macro- and micro-nutrients, providing manure and draught power, and generating income. But they also consume food edible by humans and graze on pastures that could be used for crop production. Livestock, especially ruminants, are often seen as poor converters of feed into food products. This paper analyses global livestock feed rations and feed conversion ratios, with specific insight on the diversity in production systems and feed materials. Results estimate that livestock consume 6 billion tonnes of feed (dry matter) annually - including one third of global cereal production - of which 86% is made of materials that are currently not eaten by humans. In addition, soybean cakes, which production can be considered as main driver or land-use, represent 4% of the global livestock feed intake. Producing 1. kg of boneless meat requires an average of 2.8. kg human-edible feed in ruminant systems and 3.2. kg in monogastric systems. While livestock is estimated to use 2.5 billion ha of land, modest improvements in feed use efficiency can reduce further expansion.

    Marginal costs of abating greenhouse gases in the global ruminant livestock sector
    Henderson, B. ; Falcucci, A. ; Early, L. ; Gerber, P.J. - \ 2017
    Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 22 (2017)1. - ISSN 1381-2386 - p. 199 - 224.
    Livestock [inclusive of ruminant species, namely cattle (Bos Taurus and Bos indicus), sheep (Ovis aries), goats (Capra hircus), and buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis), and non-ruminant species, namely pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) and chickens (Gallus domesticus)] are both affected by climate change and contribute as much as 14.5 % of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,most of which is fromruminant animals (Gerber et al. 2013). This study aims to estimate themarginal costs of reducing GHG emissions for a selection of practices in the ruminant livestock sector (inclusive of the major ruminant species—cattle, sheep, and goats) globally. It advances on previous assessments by calculating marginal costs rather than commonly reported average costs of abatement and can thus provide insights about abatement responses at different carbon prices.We selected the most promising abatement options based on their effectiveness and feasibility. Improved grazing management and legume sowing are the main practices assessed in grazing systems. The urea (CO(NH2)2) treatment of crop straws is the main practice applied in mixed crop–livestock systems, while the feeding of dietary lipids and nitrates are confined tomore intensive production systems. These practices were estimated to reduce emissions by up to 379 metric megatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions per year (MtCO2-eq yr-1). Two thirds of this reduction was estimated to be possible at a carbon price of 20 US dollars per metric ton of CO2 equivalent emissions ($20 tCO2-eq-1). This study also provides strategic guidance as to where abatement efforts could be most cost effectively targeted. For example, improved grazing management was particularly cost effective in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, while legume sowing appeared to work best in Western Europe and Latin America.
    Assessing three nitrogen use performance indicators for pig supply chains in East and Southeast Asia
    Uwizeye, U.A. ; Gerber, Pierre ; Schulte, R.P.O. ; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2016
    Pig supply chains are developing rapidly in East and Southeast Asia (ESEA), fuelled by population growth, growing incomes and urbanization that lead to increased demand for animal produce. Pig supply chains, however, are associated with losses of reactive nitrogen (Nr) to the environment at various stages of the chain. To benchmark livestock supply chains and identify improvement options, we previously developed a framework to assess Nr use efficiency at chain level. This framework compromises three indicators: life-cycle nitrogen use efficiency (life-cycle-NUEN), life-cycle net nitrogen balance (life-cycle-NNBN), and nitrogen hotspot index (NHIN). The aim of this study is to apply these three indicators to pig supply chains in ESEA. Preliminary results showed that the computed Life-cycle Nr use efficiency indicators vary greatly between backyard, intermediate and industrial supply chains. Industrial supply chains had relatively higher estimates of life-cycle-NUEN than intermediate and backyard supply chains. Our data showed a negative relationship between life-cycle-NNBN and NHIN demonstrating the presence of hotspots of Nr losses in backyard and intermediate supply chains, as compared to industrial supply chains. These differences between supply chains result from differences in the origin of feed material, feed conversion, manure management system and animal health status. This study demonstrates that there is a scope to improve the Nr use efficiency in pig supply chains in ESEA, especially by focusing on the optimization of fertilization of local feed crops and manure management systems. Further research is required to assess the potential effectiveness of each of these interventions.
    Reducing emissions from agriculture to meet the 2 °C target
    Wollenberg, Eva ; Richards, Meryl ; Smith, Pete ; Havlík, Petr ; Obersteiner, Michael ; Tubiello, Francesco N. ; Herold, Martin ; Gerber, Pierre ; Carter, Sarah ; Reisinger, Andrew ; Vuuren, Detlef P. van; Dickie, Amy ; Neufeldt, Henry ; Sander, Björn O. ; Wassmann, Reiner ; Sommer, Rolf ; Amonette, James E. ; Falcucci, Alessandra ; Herrero, Mario ; Opio, Carolyn ; Roman-cuesta, Rosa Maria ; Stehfest, Elke ; Westhoek, Henk ; Ortiz-Monasterio, Ivan ; Sapkota, Tek ; Rufino, Mariana C. ; Thornton, Philip K. ; Verchot, Louis V. ; West, Paul C. ; Soussana, Jean-François ; Baedeker, Tobias ; Sadler, Marc ; Vermeulen, Sonja ; Campbell, Bruce M. - \ 2016
    Global Change Biology 22 (2016)12. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 3859 - 3864.
    More than 100 countries pledged to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the 2015 Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Yet technical information about how much mitigation is needed in the sector vs. how much is feasible remains poor. We identify a preliminary global target for reducing emissions from agriculture of ~1 GtCO2e yr−1 by 2030 to limit warming in 2100 to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. Yet plausible agricultural development pathways with mitigation cobenefits deliver only 21–40% of needed mitigation. The target indicates that more transformative technical and policy options will be needed, such as methane inhibitors and finance for new practices. A more comprehensive target for the 2 °C limit should be developed to include soil carbon and agriculture-related mitigation options. Excluding agricultural emissions from mitigation targets and plans will increase the cost of mitigation in other sectors or reduce the feasibility of meeting the 2 °C limit.
    Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) Partnership: : Building global methodological consensus for improved environmental management
    Camillis, Camillo De; Opio, Carolyn ; Merènyi1, Màtè ; Uwizeye, U.A. ; Arce Diaz, Eduardo ; Brown, Douglas ; Clark, Harry ; Castillo-Fernandez, Lucia ; Athayde, Alexandra de; Mooij de, Richard ; Schryver, An de; Rosa, Primiano de; Desai, Lalji ; Gerber, P.J. - \ 2016
    In: Book of Abstracts of the 10th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food 2016. -
    eco-efficiency; consensus building; GHG emissions; water footprinting; nutrients modelling; carbon stock
    Research is evolving fast in environmental assessment. Accordingly, Life Cycle Assessment studies often deliver
    contradictory messages when it comes to agriculture and livestock supply chains. High is hence the risk to mislead policy
    making, and to create unjustified market distortions. While science continues to evolve, FAO, governments, private sector,
    non-government organizations and civil society organizations engaged in the Livestock Environmental Assessment and
    Performance (LEAP) Partnership to build global methodological consensus for sound environmental assessments of
    livestock supply chains. LEAP guidelines are developed by Technical Advisory Groups composed of scholars and technical
    experts from a wide array of regions. LEAP guidelines are designed to support the environmental benchmarking of livestock
    supply chains without focusing on a specific production practice. This paper provides an overview of the major
    achievements of the LEAP Partnership phase 1 (2012-2015) as well as presents the technical challenges that LEAP will
    tackle in its phase 2 until 2018. Special emphasis is on the ongoing technical activities on water footprinting, modelling of
    nitrogen and phosphorus flows, soil carbon stock changes, and road testing of LEAP1 guidelines.
    The importance of a life cycle approach for valuing carbon sequestration
    Middelaar, C.E. van; Cederberg, C. ; Gerber, P.J. ; Persson, M. ; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2016
    In: Book of Abstracts of the 10th international conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food. - - 7 p.
    livestock, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, mitigation, dairy production
    Carbon sequestration (C-seq) in grassland has been proposed as a strategy to reduce the net contribution of livestock to
    climate change. Carbon stored in soils, however, can easily be re-emitted to the atmosphere if soil conditions change. The
    aim of this study was to evaluate the importance of C-seq for reducing the impact of dairy production on climate change
    over time, based on life cycle assessment. Annual emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (cradle-to-farm
    gate) were analysed for two types of dairy systems in the Netherlands: a grass-based system (high C-seq potential) and a
    maize-based system (low C-seq potential). Soil carbon fluxes were modelled to quantify the uptake and release of carbon
    dioxide in agricultural soils. The climate impact per ton of fat-and-protein corrected milk (FCPM) for each system was
    modelled over time, based on the radiative forcing and atmospheric lifetime of annual emissions and soil carbon fluxes.
    Systems were compared for a situation in which soil carbon was re-emitted after 20 years, or stored for an indefinite period
    of time. Results show that C-seq favours the grass-based system in the short-term, until the point at which soil carbon is reemitted
    (i.e., 20 years), or reaches equilibrium (after 70 years). Results demonstrate the importance of including both annual
    emissions and soil carbon fluxes by means of a life cycle approach, and to consider the climate impact over time, when
    valuing the potential benefit of C-seq.
    Reducing uncertainty at minimal cost: a method to identify important input parameters and prioritize data collection
    Uwizeye, U.A. ; Groen, E.A. ; Gerber, P.J. ; Schulte, Rogier P.O. ; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2016
    In: Book of Abstracts of the 10th international conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food. - - 5 p.
    Sensitivity analysis, uncertainty analysis, minimum data, data quality
    The study aims to illustrate a method to identify important input parameters that explain most of the output variance ofenvironmental assessment models. The method is tested for the computation of life-cycle nitrogen (N) use efficiencyindicators among mixed dairy production systems in Rwanda. We performed a global sensitivity analysis, and ranked theimportance of parameters based on the squared standardized regression coefficients (SRC). First the probability distributionsof 126 input parameters were defined, based on primary and secondary data, which were collected from feed processors,dairy farms, dairy processing plants and slaughterhouses, and literature. Second, squared SRCs were calculated to explainthe output variance of the life-cycle nitrogen use efficiency, life-cycle net nitrogen balance, and nitrogen hotspot indexindicators. Results show that input parameters considered can be classified into three categories. The first category (I)includes 115 input parameters with low squared SRCs (<0.01), which are less important and can be established with defaultor regional averages. The second category (II) includes 5 important input parameters, with squared SRCs between 0.01 and0.1; that can be established with country specific data. The third category (III) includes 6 input parameters with squaredSRCs >0.1; that contribute most to the output variance of at least one of the life-cycle nitrogen use efficiency indicators.These most important parameters need to be established with accuracy thus require high data quality. The input parametersof category II and III include emission factors and coefficients that are specific for a region as well as activity data that arespecific to the livestock production system. By carrying out such analysis during the scoping analysis, any LCA study infood sector can cut on the cost of data collection phase by focusing on input parameters that can be fixed through goodpractices in data collection. Further work on global life-cycle nutrient use performance will benefit from these results togenerate analysis at lesser data collection cost.
    What does Life-Cycle Assessment of agricultural products need for more meaningful inclusion of biodiversity?
    Teillard, Félix ; Maia de Souza, Danielle ; Thoma, Greg ; Gerber, Pierre J. ; Finn, John A. - \ 2016
    Journal of Applied Ecology 53 (2016)5. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 1422 - 1429.
    agricultural production systems - conservation - environmental assessment methods - environmental impact - food products - life-cycle assessment (LCA) - livestock - off-farm impact - policy - sustainable agriculture

    Decision-makers increasingly use life-cycle assessment (LCA) as a tool to measure the environmental sustainability of products. LCA is of particular importance in globalized agricultural supply chains, which have environmental effects in multiple and spatially dispersed locations. Incorporation of impacts on biodiversity that arise from agricultural production systems into environmental assessment methods is an emerging area of work in LCA, and current approaches have limitations, including the need for (i) improved assessment of impacts to biodiversity associated with agricultural production, (ii) inclusion of new biodiversity indicators (e.g. conservation value, functional diversity, ecosystem services) and (iii) inclusion of previously unaccounted modelling variables that go beyond land-use impacts (e.g. climate change, water and soil quality). Synthesis and applications. Ecological models and understanding can contribute to address the limitations of current life-cycle assessment (LCA) methods in agricultural production systems and to make them more ecologically relevant. This will be necessary to ensure that biodiversity is not neglected in decision-making that relies on LCA.

    Greenhouse gas mitigation potentials in the livestock sector
    Herrero, Mario ; Henderson, Benjamin ; Havlík, Petr ; Thornton, Philip K. ; Conant, Richard T. ; Smith, Pete ; Wirsenius, Stefan ; Hristov, Alexander N. ; Gerber, P.J. ; Gill, Margaret ; Butterbach-bahl, Klaus ; Valin, Hugo ; Garnett, Tara ; Stehfest, Elke - \ 2016
    Nature Climate Change 6 (2016)5. - ISSN 1758-678X - p. 452 - 461.
    The livestock sector supports about 1.3 billion producers and retailers, and contributes 40–50% of agricultural GDP. We estimated that between 1995 and 2005, the livestock sector was responsible for greenhouse gas emissions of 5.6–7.5 GtCO2e yr–1. Livestock accounts for up to half of the technical mitigation potential of the agriculture, forestry and land-use sectors, through management options that sustainably intensify livestock production, promote carbon sequestration in rangelands and reduce emissions from manures, and through reductions in the demand for livestock products. The economic potential of these management alternatives is less than 10% of what is technically possible because of adoption constraints, costs and numerous trade-offs. The mitigation potential of reductions in livestock product consumption is large, but their economic potential is unknown at present. More research and investment are needed to increase the affordability and adoption of mitigation practices, to moderate consumption of livestock products where appropriate, and to avoid negative impacts on livelihoods, economic activities and the environment
    Climate change mitigation and productivity gains in livestock supply chains : insights from regional case studies
    Mottet, Anne ; Henderson, Benjamin ; Opio, Carolyn ; Falcucci, Alessandra ; Tempio, Giuseppe ; Silvestri, Silvia ; Chesterman, Sabrina ; Gerber, Pierre J. - \ 2016
    Regional Environmental Change (2016). - ISSN 1436-3798 - 13 p.
    Climate change - Livestock systems - Mitigation - Packages of options - Productivity

    Livestock can contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and by increasing soil carbon sequestration. Packages of mitigation techniques can bring large environmental benefits as illustrated in six case studies modeled in the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model developed by FAO. With feasible technical interventions in livestock production systems, the mitigation potential of each of the selected species, systems and regions ranges from 14 to 41 %. While comparably high mitigation potentials were estimated for ruminant and pig production systems in Asia, Latin America and Africa, large emission reductions can also be attained in dairy systems with already high levels of productivity, in OECD countries. Mitigation interventions can lead to a concomitant reduction in emissions and increase in production, contributing to food security. This is particularly the case for improved feeding practices and better health and herd management practices. Livestock systems also have a significant potential for sequestrating carbon in pasturelands and rangelands through improved management, as illustrated in two of the six case studies in this paper.

    A comprehensive framework to assess the sustainability of nutrient use in global livestock supply chains
    Uwizeye, U.A. ; Gerber, Pierre J. ; Schulte, Rogier P.O. ; Boer, Imke J.M. de - \ 2016
    Journal of Cleaner Production 129 (2016). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 647 - 658.
    Life-cycle thinking - Livestock supply chain - Nitrogen - Nutrient use efficiency - Phosphorus - Soil nutrient stock change

    The assessment of the performance of nutrient use along livestock supply chains can help to identify targeted nutrient management interventions, with a goal to benchmark and to monitor the improvement of production practices. It is necessary, therefore, to develop indicators that are capable to describe all nutrient dynamics and management along the chain. This paper proposed a comprehensive framework, based on life-cycle thinking, to assess the sustainability of nitrogen and phosphorus use. The proposed framework represents nutrient flows in typical livestock supply chain from the "cradle-to-primary-processing-gate", including crop/pasture production, animal production, and primary processing stage as well as the transportation of feed materials, live-animals or animal products. In addition, three indicators, including the life-cycle nutrient use efficiency (life-cycle-NUE), life-cycle net nutrient balance (life-cycle-NNB) and nutrient hotspot index (NHI) were proposed and tested in a case study of mixed dairy supply chains in Europe. Proposed indicators were found to be suitable to describe different aspects of nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics and, therefore, were all needed. Moreover, the disaggregation of life-cycle-NUE and life-cycle-NNB has been investigated and the uncertainties related to the choice of the method used to estimate changes in nutrient soil stock have been discussed. Given these uncertainties, the choice of method to compute the proposed indicators is determined by data availability and by the goal and scope of the exercise.

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