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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    Are Technological Developments Improving the Environmental Sustainability of Photovoltaic Electricity?
    Blanco, Carlos Felipe ; Cucurachi, Stefano ; Peijnenburg, Willie J.G.M. ; Beames, Alistair ; Vijver, Martina G. - \ 2020
    Energy Technology (2020). - ISSN 2194-4288
    environmental impacts - life-cycle assessments - photovoltaics - solar - sustainability

    Innovation in photovoltaics (PV) is mostly driven by the cost per kilowatt ratio, making it easy to overlook environmental impacts of technological enhancements during early research and development stages. As PV technology developers introduce novel materials and manufacturing methods, the well-studied environmental profile of conventional silicon-based PV may change considerably. Herein, existing trends and hotspots across different types of emerging PV technologies are investigated through a systematic review and meta-analysis of life-cycle assessments (LCAs). To incorporate as many data points as possible, a comprehensive harmonization procedure is applied, producing over 600 impact data points for organic, perovskite (PK), dye-sensitized, tandem, silicon, and other thin-film cells. How the panel and balance of system components affect environmental footprints in comparable installations is also investigated and discussed. Despite the large uncertainties and variabilities in the underlying LCA data and models, the harmonized results show clear positive trends across the sector. Seven potential hotspots are identified for specific PV technologies and impact categories. The analysis offers a high-level guidance for technology developers to avoid introducing undesired environmental trade-offs as they advance to make PV more competitive in the energy markets.

    Assessing the sustainability of egg production systems in the Netherlands
    Asselt, E.D. van; Bussel, L.G.J. van; Horne, P.L.M. van; Voet, H. van der; Heijden, G.W.A.M. van der; Fels, H.J. van der - \ 2015
    Poultry Science 94 (2015)8. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 1742 - 1750.
    different housing systems - environmental impacts - animal-welfare - indicators - food
    Housing systems for laying hens have changed over the years due to increased public concern regarding animal welfare. In terms of sustainability, animal welfare is just one aspect that needs to be considered. Social aspects as well as environmental and economic factors need to be included as well. In this study, we assessed the sustainability of enriched cage, barn, free-range, and organic egg production systems following a predefined protocol. Indicators were selected within the social, environmental, and economic dimensions, after which parameter values and sustainability limits were set for the core indicators in order to quantify sustainability. Uncertainty in the parameter values as well as assigned weights and compensabilities of the indicators influenced the outcome of the sustainability assessment. Using equal weights for the indicators showed that, for the Dutch situation, enriched cage egg production was most sustainable, having the highest score on the environmental dimension, whereas free-range egg production gave the highest score in the social dimension (covering food safety, animal welfare, and human welfare). In the economic dimension both enriched cage egg and organic egg production had the highest sustainability score. When weights were attributed according to stakeholder outputs, individual differences were seen, but the overall scores were comparable to the sustainability scores based on equal weights. The provided method enabled a quantification of sustainability using input from stakeholders to include societal preferences in the overall assessment. Allowing for different weights and compensabilities helps policymakers in communicating with stakeholders involved and provides a weighted decision regarding future housing systems for laying hens.
    Social sustainability of cod and haddock fisheries in the northeast Atlantic: what issues are important?
    Veldhuizen, L.J.L. ; Berentsen, P. ; Bokkers, E.A.M. ; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2015
    Journal of Cleaner Production 94 (2015). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 76 - 85.
    life-cycle assessment - environmental impacts - production systems - fish - categories - indicators - products - welfare - stress - salmon
    Research on the sustainability of capture fisheries has focused more on environmental and economic sustainability than on social sustainability. To assess social sustainability, first relevant and important social sustainability issues need to be identified. The objective of this study was to identify relevant social sustainability issues for cod and haddock fisheries in the northeast Atlantic and to determine the importance of these issues based on stakeholder input. A heterogeneous group of stakeholders was invited to take part in two consecutive surveys on social sustainability issues. The first survey (n=41) resulted in a long list of 27 relevant social sustainability issues, including six issues that were not identified in previous studies and that address aspects of fish welfare, employees' training and education opportunities, and employees' time off from work. The second survey (n=51) resulted in a ranking of the social sustainability issues in order of importance. The most important issues are worker safety, product freshness and companies' salary levels. In general, social sustainability issues concerning working conditions, employees' job fulfilment and fish welfare are seen as more important than other social sustainability issues. A main discussion point concerns the relation between the importance of a social sustainability issue on the one hand and the type of need that the issue relates to and the state of the issue on the other hand. From the study it can be concluded that the relative importance of social sustainability issues differs per stakeholder group depending on the relation between the stakeholder group and each particular issue. This demonstrates the importance of consulting different stakeholder groups in future studies on social sustainability in order to get a balanced view on the importance of social sustainability issues. Results on the relevance and importance of social sustainability issues for cod and haddock fisheries in the northeast Atlantic enable the fishing industry and policy-makers to direct improvement efforts towards the more important issues. ©
    Sustainability of milk production in the Netherlands - A comparison between raw organic, pasteurised organic and conventional milk
    Asselt, E.D. van; Capuano, E. ; Fels-Klerx, H.J. van der - \ 2015
    International Dairy Journal 47 (2015). - ISSN 0958-6946 - p. 19 - 26.
    life-cycle assessment - environmental impacts - production systems - dairy farms - tool - metaanalysis - agriculture - consumption - indicators - quality
    Consumer preferences are changing, resulting in an increased demand for both organic milk and raw milk due to their perceived higher nutritional value and positive contribution to animal welfare. To compare the advantages and disadvantages of these products with conventional pasteurised milk, a sustainability assessment was performed incorporating social, environmental and economic factors. The assessment showed that raw organic milk gave the highest overall sustainability score. This is due to, for example, a high score for animal welfare and a high score for the environmental factors due to the omission of the pasteurisation step compared with conventional milk. The latter may pose human health risks due to the possible presence of pathogens in raw milk. As the approach followed is transparent, it allows policy makers to discuss the outcome of the sustainability assessment both with stakeholders and the general public, which will facilitate the decision making process.
    Mobilization of biomass for energy from boreal forests in Finland & Russia under present sustainable forest management certification and new sustainability requirements for solid biofuels
    Sikkema, R. ; Faaij, A.P.C. ; Ranta, T. ; Heinimö, J. ; Gerasimov, Y.Y. ; Karjalainen, T. ; Nabuurs, G.J. - \ 2014
    Biomass and Bioenergy 71 (2014). - ISSN 0961-9534 - p. 23 - 36.
    environmental impacts - wood - bioenergy - resources - fuel - alternatives - procurement - potentials - countries - products
    Forest biomass is one of the main contributors to the EU's renewable energy target of 20% gross final energy consumption in 2020 (Renewable Energy Directive). Following the RED, new sustainability principles are launched by the European energy sector, such as the Initiative Wood Pellet Buyers (IWPB or SBP). The aim of our study is the investigation of the quantitative impacts from IWPB's principles for forest biomass for energy only. We deploy a bottom up method that quantifies the supplies and the costs from log harvest until forest chip delivery at a domestic consumer. We have a reference situation with existing national (forest) legislation and voluntary certification schemes (scenario 1) and a future situation with additional criteria based on the IWPB principles (scenario 2). Two country studies were selected for our (2008) survey: one in Finland with nearly 100% certification and one in Leningrad province with a minor areal share of certification in scenario 1. The sustainable potential of forest resources for energy is about 54 Mm3 (385 PJ) in Finland and about 13.5 Mm3 (95 PJ) in Leningrad in scenario 1 without extra criteria. The potential volumes reduce considerably by maximum 43% respectively 39% after new criteria from the IWPB, like a minimum use of sawlogs, stumps and slash for energy, and by an increased area of protected forests (scenario 2A Maximum extra restrictions). In case sawlogs can be used, but instead ash recycling is applied after a maximum stump and slash recovery (scenario 2B Minimum extra restrictions), the potential supply is less reduced: 5% in Finland and 22% in Leningrad region. The estimated reference costs for forest chips are between €18 and €45 solid m-3 in Finland and between €7 and €33 solid m-3 in the Leningrad region. In scenario 2A, the costs will mainly increase by €7 m-3 for delimbing full trees (Finland), and maximum €0.3 m-3 for suggested improved forest management (Leningrad region). In scenario 2B, when ash recycling is applied, costs increase by about €0.3 to €1.6 m-3, depending on the rate of soil contamination. This is an increase of 2%, on top of the costs in scenario 2A.
    Identifying Sustainability Issues for Soymeal and Beef Production Chains
    Pashaei Kamali, F. ; Meuwissen, M.P.M. ; Boer, I.J.M. de; Stolz, H. ; Jahrl, I. ; Garibay, S.V. ; Jacobsen, R. ; Driesen, T. ; Oude Lansink, A.G.J.M. - \ 2014
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (2014)6. - ISSN 1187-7863 - p. 949 - 965.
    egg-production systems - environmental impacts - supply chain - netherlands - performance - indicators - crops
    The expansion of livestock production throughout the world has led to increased demand for high protein animal feed. This expansion has created economic benefits for livestock farmers and other actors in the chain, but also resulted in environmental and social side effects. This study aims to identify a set of sustainability issues that cover the environmental, economic and social dimensions of soymeal and beef production chains. The method applied combines the results of multiple studies, including a literature review and stakeholder surveys. Stakeholder surveys were conducted for three different interest groups (business, consumers, and other stakeholders) and two geographical regions (Latin America and the European Union). Our results reveal that the selection of issues in most sustainability assessment studies is a relatively arbitrary decision, while the literature also states that identifying issues is an important step in a sustainability assessment. Defining sustainability issues from a whole chain perspective is important, as issues of sustainability emerge at various stages along the production chain, and are found to vary across stakeholders' interests. Business stakeholders, for example, perceived economic issues to be more important, whereas the majority of consumer stakeholders and other stakeholders perceived social and environmental issues, respectively, to be more important. Different education levels, knowledge, and living patterns in various geographical regions can affect the stakeholders' perceptions. The combination of a heterogeneous group of stakeholders and the consideration of multiple chain stages constitutes a useful approach to identify sustainability issues along food chains. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
    Key role of China and its agriculture in global sustainable phosphorus management
    Sattari, S.Z. ; Ittersum, M.K. van; Giller, K.E. ; Zhang, F. ; Bouwman, A.F. - \ 2014
    Environmental Research Letters 9 (2014)5. - ISSN 1748-9326 - 8 p.
    environmental impacts - soil-phosphorus - crop yield - food-chain - fertilizer - nitrogen - perspective - scarcity - balances - industry
    Growing global demand for food leads to increased pressure on phosphorus (P), a finite and dwindling resource. China is the largest producer and consumer of P fertilizer in the world. A mass balance analysis of historical P use on China's arable land shows that P input substantially exceeds crop P uptake leading to the accumulation of residual soil P. A Dynamic P Pool Simulator (DPPS) model is applied to estimate future P demand in China's arable land. Our simulations show that more sustainable use of P accounting for the residual P can save ca. 20% of the P fertilizer needed until 2050 in China relative to the Rio + 20 Trend scenario. This saving would be equivalent to half of the P required in Africa or sufficient for Western Europe to achieve target crop P uptake in 2050.
    Reducing the impact of irrigated crops on freshwater availability: the case of Brazilian yellow melons
    Brito de Figueirêdo, M.C. ; Boer, I.J.M. de; Kroeze, C. ; Silva Barros, V. da; Sousa, J.A. de; Souza de Aragão, F.A. ; Sonsol Gondim, R. ; Potting, J. - \ 2014
    The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 19 (2014)2. - ISSN 0948-3349 - p. 437 - 448.
    environmental impacts - lca - l. - consumption - products - quality - yield
    Purpose This study quantifies freshwater consumption throughout the life cycle of Brazilian exported yellow melons and assesses the resulting impact on freshwater availability. Results are used to identify improvement options. Moreover, the study explores the further impact of variations in irrigation volume, yield, and production location. Methods The product system boundary encompasses production of seeds, seedlings, and melon plants; melon packing; disposal of solid farm waste; and farm input and melon transportation to European ports. The primary data in the study were collected from farmers in order to quantify freshwater consumption related to packing and to production of seeds, seedlings, and melons. Open-field melon irrigation was also estimated, considering the region's climate and soil characteristics. Estimated and current water consumptions were compared in order to identify impact reduction opportunities. Sensitivity analysis was used to evaluate variations in the impact because of changes in melon field irrigation, yield, and farm location. Results and discussion This study shows that the average impact on freshwater availability of 1 kg of exported Brazilian yellow melons is 135 l H2O-e, with a range from 17 to 224 l H2O-e depending on the growing season's production period. Irrigation during plant production accounts for 98 % of this impact. Current melon field water consumption in the Low Jaguaribe and Açu region is at least 39 % higher than necessary, which affects the quality of fruits and yield. The impact of melon production in other world regions on freshwater availability may range from 0.3 l H2O-e/kg in Costa Rica to 466 l H2O-e/kg in the USA. Conclusions The impact of temporary crops, such as melons, on water availability should be presented in ranges, instead of as an average, since regional consumptive water and water stress variations occur in different growing season periods. Current and estimated water consumption for irrigation may also be compared in order to identify opportunities to achieve optimization and reduce water availability impact.
    Variation in LCA results for disposable polystyrene beverage cups due to multiple data sets and modelling choices
    Harst, E.J.M. van der; Potting, J. - \ 2014
    Environmental Modelling & Software 51 (2014). - ISSN 1364-8152 - p. 123 - 135.
    life-cycle assessment - environmental impacts - uncertainty - ensemble - system
    Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of the same products often result in different, sometimes even contradictory outcomes. Reasons for these differences include using different data sets and deviating modelling choices. This paper purposely used different data sets and modelling choices to identify how these differences propagated in LCA results. Vehicle for this methodological exploration was an LCA case study of a typical polystyrene (PS) disposable cup. An initial LCA of PS cups was made using only one data set per process. Contribution and sensitivity analysis identified those processes with influential contribution to the overall environmental impact. Next additional data sets were acquired for all influential processes. The spread in impact results for each life cycle process was calculated after impact assessment for each individual inventory data set as to preserve the correlation between inventory data within each individual data set. The spread in impact results reflects uncertainty existing between different data sets for the same process and due to modelling choices. The influence on overall LCA results was quantified by systematically applying all combinations of data sets and modelling choices. Results from the different data sets and modelling choices systematically point to the same processes as main contributors to all impact categories (PS production, cup manufacturing, PS incineration and PS recycling). The spread in toxicity indicators exceeds the energy-related impact categories. Causes of spread are resources and energy used (type, amount, date and origin), reported emissions, and applied allocation procedures. Average LCA results show slight preference for recycling PS compared to incineration in most impact categories. Overlapping spread in results of the two waste treatments, however, does not support the preference for recycling. The approach in this paper showed how variation in data sets and modelling choices propagates in LCA outcomes. This is especially useful for generic LCAs as systematic use of multiple data sets and multiple modelling choices increases the insight in relative contributions of processes to, and uncertainty in the overall LCA. These results might be less easy to perceive, but they provide decision makers with more robust information.
    Sustainability assessment of salmonid feed using energy, classical exergy and eco-exergy analysis
    Draganovic, V. ; Jorgensen, S.E. ; Boom, R.M. ; Jonkers, J. ; Goot, A.J. van der - \ 2013
    Ecological Indicators 34 (2013). - ISSN 1470-160X - p. 277 - 289.
    krill euphausia-superba - life-cycle assessment - environmental impacts - production systems - farmed salmon - ethanol - organisms - products - chains - wheat
    Reduction of the environmental impact of feed products is of paramount importance for salmon farming. This article explores the potential to compare three thermodynamically based ecological indicators. The environmental impact of partial replacement of fish meal (FM) and fish oil with alternative ingredients was investigated using energy, classical exergy and eco-exergy analysis. Seven hypothetical feeds were formulated: one with high levels of FM and fish oil, four feeds based on plant ingredients, one containing krill meal, and one based on algae-derived products. Analysis included cultivation of crops and algae, fishing for fish and krill, industrial processing of these ingredients and production of complete fish feed. Because most harvested products are refined in multiple product outputs that have good value to society, two scenarios were compared. In the base case scenario, no allocation of co-products was used and all the environmental costs were ascribed to one specific co-product. Co-product allocation by mass was used in the second scenario; this is considered to be the preferred scenario because it accurately reflects the individual contributions of the co-products to the environmental impact of the feed products. For this scenario, the total energy consumption for a fish-based diet was 14,500 MJ, which was similar to a krill diet (15,600 MJ), about 15–31% higher than plant-based diets, and 9% higher than an algae diet. Substituting FM and fish oil with alternative ingredients resulted in minor changes in total classical exergy degradation (2–16% difference). The calculations based on energy only consider the energy conservation based on the First Law of Thermodynamics, whereas those based on classical exergy also takes the Second Law of Thermodynamics into account; energy that can do work is distinguished from energy that is lost as heat to the environment. The calculations based on eco-exergy consider the total loss of work energy in the environment including the work energy associated with the information embodied in the genomes of organisms. The diet based on fishery-derived ingredients was the highest total work energy consumer compared with plant-based diets (24–30% greater), the diet containing krill meal (25% greater), and the algae diet (four times higher). Thus, reducing FM and fish oil levels in fish feed can contribute significantly to more sustainable aquaculture. In particular, algae-derived products in aquafeeds could drastically decrease environmental costs in the future.
    A critical comparison of ten disposable cup LCAs
    Harst, E.J.M. van der; Potting, J. - \ 2013
    Environmental Impact Assessment Review 43 (2013). - ISSN 0195-9255 - p. 86 - 96.
    life-cycle assessment - environmental impacts - biodegradation - uncertainty - management - emissions - system
    Disposable cups can be made from conventional petro-plastics, bioplastics, or paperboard (coated with petro-plastics or bioplastics). This study compared ten life cycle assessment (LCA) studies of disposable cups with the aim to evaluate the robustness of their results. The selected studies have only one impact category in common, namely climate change with global warming potential (GWP) as its category indicator. Quantitative GWP results of the studies were closer examined. GWPs within and across each study show none of the cup materials to be consistently better than the others. Comparison of the absolute GWPs (after correction for the cup volume) also shows no consistent better or worse cup material. An evaluation of the methodological choices and the data sets used in the studies revealed their influence on the GWP. The differences in GWP can be attributed to a multitude of factors, i.e., cup material and weight, production processes, waste processes, allocation options, and data used. These factors basically represent different types of uncertainty. Sensitivity and scenario analyses provided only the influence of one factor at once. A systematic and simultaneous use of sensitivity and scenario analyses could, in a next research, result in more robust outcomes.
    Carbon footprint of five pig diets using three land use change accounting methods
    Meul, M. ; Ginneberge, C. ; Middelaar, C.E. van; Boer, I.J.M. de; Fremaut, D. ; Haesaert, G. - \ 2012
    Livestock Science 149 (2012)3. - ISSN 1871-1413 - p. 215 - 223.
    greenhouse-gas emissions - environmental impacts - feed - biofuels - opportunities - mitigation - coproducts - reduction - scenarios - solubles
    The aim of our study was to estimate the carbon footprint (CFP) of five diets for fattening pigs in Europe, using three land use change accounting methods: (i) reference CFP excluding emissions from land use change (LUC); (ii) CFP taking into account emissions from direct LUC and (iii) CFP including total LUC risk. Total LUC risk comprises all emissions from land use change caused by commercial agriculture worldwide, allocated to products based on their land use. We compared a standard feed composition (STAND) with four alternative diets directed at reducing the CFP: in CROP diet we assumed an improved crop production through 10% increased crop yields or 10% decreased fertilizer use; in EU diet we excluded soybean products and used European grown feed ingredients only; in BY-P diet we maximized the use of by-products from food and bio-energy industry; and in N-LOW diet we limited crude protein content to 13% while adding synthetic amino acids. Our analysis showed that the method chosen to account for LUC has a major impact on the CFP of each diet and, therefore, affects mutual comparison of diets. Based on the reference CFP, CROP diet showed the lowest CFP, i.e. -6% compared to STAND. When accounting for direct LUC, EU diet had the lowest CFP, i.e. -15% compared to STAND, by avoiding soybean products. When accounting for total LUC risk, N-LOW diet had the lowest CFP, i.e. -9% compared to STAND. We discussed that each of the considered land use change accounting methods has specific strengths and limitations. As a result, we proposed two decision rules when formulating low CFP diets, i.e.: (1) avoid direct land use change as much as possible; and (2) within this precondition, minimize carbon footprint including total land use change risk to encourage the formulation of diets that combine a low reference carbon footprint with low land use requirements.
    Nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiencies and losses in the food chain in China at regional scales in 1980 and 2005.
    Ma, L. ; Velthof, G.L. ; Wang, F.H. ; Qin, Wei ; Zhang, W.F. ; Wei, J. ; Lesschen, J.P. ; Ma, W.Q. ; Oenema, O. ; Zhang, F.S. - \ 2012
    Science of the Total Environment 434 (2012). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 51 - 61.
    on-farm evaluation - taihu lake region - environmental impacts - n2o emissions - agriculture - management - flows - plain - perspective - systems
    Crop and animal production in China has increased significantly during the last decades, but at the cost of large increases in nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) losses, which contribute to ecosystem degradation and human health effects. This information is largely based on scattered field experiments, surveys and national statistics. As a consequence, there is as yet no comprehensive understanding of the changes in N and P cycling and losses at regional and national scales. Here, we present the results of an integrated assessment of the N and P use efficiencies (NUE and PUE) and N and P losses in the chain of crop and animal production, food processing and retail, and food consumption at regional scale in 1980 and 2005, using a uniform approach and databases. Our results show that the N and P costs of food production–consumption almost doubled between 1980 and 2005, but with large regional variation. The NUE and PUE of crop production decreased dramatically, while NUE and PUE in animal production increased. Interestingly, NUE and PUE of the food processing sector decreased from about 75% to 50%. Intake of N and P per capita increased, but again with large regional variation. Losses of N and P from agriculture to atmosphere and water bodies increased in most regions, especially in the east and south of the country. Highest losses were estimated for the Beijing and Tianjin metropolitan regions (North China), Pearl River Delta (South China) and Yangzi River Delta (East China). In conclusion, the changes and regional variations in NUE and PUE in the food chain of China are large and complex. Changes occurred in the whole crop and animal production, food processing and consumption chain, and were largest in the most populous areas between 1980 and 2005.
    Sustainability assessment of crop protection systems: SustainOS methodology and its application for apple orchards
    Mouron, P. ; Heijne, B. ; Naef, A. ; Strassemever, J. ; Haver, F. ; Avilla, J. - \ 2012
    Agricultural Systems 113 (2012)11. - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 1 - 15.
    swiss fruit farms - environmental impacts - assessment-tool - model - indicators - management - rotations - income
    Crop protection in general and apple crop protection in particular often rely on pesticides, although several alternative pest management measures are available. In this context European agricultural policy requires the implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by 2014. Within IPM, more than one strategy can be practiced but selecting the most sustainable strategy is difficult because it requires simultaneous assessment of multiple environmental and economic aspects or attributes. Here, we introduce the SustainOS methodology for sustainability assessment of orchard systems, and we evaluate its usefulness in a case study involving four crop protection strategies in apple orchards of five European regions. SustainOS is an iterative, multi-attribute approach for defining and rating the sustainability of crop protection strategies in comparative studies. It consists of a transparent system-description tool including context, target, and crop protection parameters. The parameters are used as input data for life cycle assessment, environmental risk assessment, and full-cost calculations. The various results from these quantitative assessments are used to generate a multi-attribute rating with respect to ecological and economic sustainability. We demonstrate how the quantitative results can be translated into rating classes. By applying the SustainOS methodology, we show that the ecological sustainability for all five regions can potentially be improved by implementing alternative crop protection measures currently available. We also report that, by increasing yield, yield stability, and fruit quality, implementation of IPM can improve the economic situation of apple growers. Because of its transparency, SustainOS facilitated the collaborative development and comparison of crop protection strategies for sustainable orchard systems by an international network of agronomists, economists, and environmental scientists.
    Phosphorus flows and use efficiencies in production and consumption of wheat, rice and maize in China
    Ma, W. ; Ma, L. ; Li, J. ; Wang, F. ; Sisák, I. ; Zhang, F. - \ 2011
    Chemosphere 84 (2011)6. - ISSN 0045-6535 - p. 814 - 821.
    environmental impacts - food-production - nitrogen - perspective - nutrient
    Increasing fertilizer phosphorus (P) application in agriculture has greatly contributed to the increase of crop yields during the last decades in China but it has also increased P flows in food production and consumption. The relationship between P use efficiency and P flow is not well quantified at national level. In present paper we report on P flows and P use efficiencies in rice, wheat, and maize production in China using the NUFER model. Conservation strategies for P utilization and the impact of these strategies on P use efficiency have been evaluated. Total amounts of P input to wheat, rice, and maize fields were 1095, 1240, and 1128 Gg, respectively, in China, approximately 80% of which was in chemical fertilizers. The accumulation of P annually in the fields of wheat, rice, and maize was 29.4, 13.6, and 21.3 kg ha-1, respectively. Phosphorus recovered in the food products of wheat, rice, and maize accounted for only 12.5%, 13.5%, and 3.8% of the total P input, or 3.2%, 2.6%, and 0.9% of the applied fertilizer P, respectively. The present study shows that optimizing phosphorus flows and decreasing phosphorus losses in crop production and utilization through improved nutrient management must be considered as an important issue in the development of agriculture in China.
    Integrating public demands into model-based design for multifunctional agriculture: An application to intensive dutch dairy landscapes
    Parra-López, C. ; Groot, J.C.J. ; Carmona-Torres, C. ; Rossing, W.A.H. - \ 2008
    Ecological Economics 67 (2008)4. - ISSN 0921-8009 - p. 538 - 551.
    quality function deployment - multiobjective genetic algorithm - analytic network process - qfd planning process - environmental impacts - nature conservation - relative importance - farming systems - trade-offs - management
    The contribution of agriculture to the welfare of society is determined by its economic, social and environmental performance. Although theoretical discussions can be found in the literature, few reports exist that integrate the social demand for multifunctional agriculture in the evaluation of the sustainability and the global welfare of society. This paper presents a methodology that combines economic valuation, integrated modelling, stakeholder analysis, and multi-criteria evaluation. It consists of three steps to determine: (1) social demands for multifunctional agriculture; (2) feasible technical alternatives available from the supply part of the market; (3) the net utility of alternatives for society measured as the change in social net benefit, i.e. the sum of changes compared to the current situation expressed in utility of market and non-market net benefits. Market net benefits are represented by their monetary value. Quality Function Deployment combined with Analytic Network Process (QFD/ANP) were used to estimate the non-market net benefits. The methodology is applied to the case study of a dairy-farming based agricultural landscape in the Northern Friesian Woodlands, The Netherlands. Social net benefit depended on land use, i.e. pasture management regimes on each of the agricultural fields and on presence or absence of hedgerows around the fields. Changes in market net utility were expressed in terms of changes for farmers, consumers and government. Changes in non-market net utility were expressed in terms of changes in landscape quality, nature value and environmental health for Dutch society as a whole, as estimated from European public surveys (Eurobarometer). The complete solution space defined by the market and non-market net benefits of landscapes with alternative patterns of land use was estimated to offer insight in the trade-off between market and non-market performance and enable selection of `icon¿ landscapes to target or avoid. Improvement of the current landscape towards the social optimum would involve changes in pasture management resulting in higher gross margin for farmers, slightly relaxing current environmental restrictions, which could be reached at lower levels of subsidies in agri-environmental programs. In addition to such overall optimum the results demonstrate the trade-off between market and non-market benefits and the characteristics of current, utopian and dystopian landscapes. The approach provides an alternative to current economic valuation methods which focus on assessment of economic value as an input to analysis. Here, economic value emerges as the trade-off between market and non-market functions which is an output of the analysis.
    The Rauischholzhausen agenda for road ecology
    Roedenbeck, I.A. ; Fahrig, L. ; Findlay, C.S. ; Houlahan, J.E. ; Jaeger, J.A.G. ; Klar, N. ; Kramer-Schadt, S. ; Grift, E.A. van der - \ 2007
    Ecology and Society 12 (2007)1. - ISSN 1708-3087 - 21 p.
    breeding bird populations - precautionary principle - environmental impacts - swareflex reflectors - sampling design - habitat - conservation - density - deer - biodiversity
    Despite the documented negative effects of roads on wildlife, ecological research on road effects has had comparatively little influence on road planning decisions. We argue that road research would have a larger impact if researchers carefully considered the relevance of the research questions addressed and the inferential strength of the studies undertaken. At a workshop at the German castle of Rauischholzhausen we identified five particularly relevant questions, which we suggest provide the framework for a research agenda for road ecology: (1) Under what circumstances do roads affect population persistence? (2) What is the relative importance of road effects vs. other effects on population persistence? (3) Under what circumstances can road effects be mitigated? (4) What is the relative importance of the different mechanisms by which roads affect population persistence? (5) Under what circumstances do road networks affect population persistence at the landscape scale? We recommend experimental designs that maximize inferential strength, given existing constraints, and we provide hypothetical examples of such experiments for each of the five research questions. In general, manipulative experiments have higher inferential strength than do nonmanipulative experiments, and full before-after-control-impact designs are preferable to before-after or control-impact designs. Finally, we argue that both scientists and planners must be aware of the limits to inferential strength that exist for a given research question in a given situation. In particular, when the maximum inferential strength of any feasible design is low, decision makers must not demand stronger evidence before incorporating research results into the planning process, even though the level of uncertainty may be high
    Greenhouse gas emissions from willow-based electricity: a scenario analysis for Portugal and The Netherlands
    Rebelo de Mira, R. ; Kroeze, C. - \ 2006
    Energy Policy 34 (2006)12. - ISSN 0301-4215 - p. 1367 - 1377.
    global n2o budget - environmental impacts - energy - biomass - cycle
    This study focuses on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants using willow as fuel compared to those using fossil fuels. More specifically, we quantify emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) from soils on which willow is grown, and compare these to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuel-based power plants. The results indicate that use of willow for producing electricity instead of fossil fuels is often, but not always more environmentally friendly. This is because the soil emissions of N2O may be lower or higher than the avoided emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal or natural gas-fired plants, depending on the way the willow is grown. Emissions may be higher in case willow is grown under specific field conditions reflecting high fertiliser use on organic soils, relatively long rotations and low yields. We performed a scenario analysis that compares soil emissions of N2O to fossil fuel (combustion) related CO2 emissions for power generation in Portugal and The Netherlands. Scenarios for the year 2010 indicate that greenhouse gas emissions from power plants may increase by up to 15-20% relative to baseline trends, in case willow use is increased to 20% of the total fuel use in power generation. In case willow is grown under relatively favourable conditions, these greenhouse gas emissions may be at least 20% lower than the baseline.
    10 Year trend of levels of organochlorine pollutants in Antarctic seabirds
    Brink, N.W. van den - \ 2003
    earth science - human dimensions - environmental impacts - contaminant level/spills - biological classification - animals - vertebrates - birds - biosphere - ecological dynamics - ecotoxicology - toxicity levels
    Contaminants like PCBs and DDE have hardly been used Antarctica. Hence, this is an excellent place to monitor global background levels of these organochlorines. In this project concentrations in penguins and petrels will be compared to 10 years ago, which will show time trends of global background contamination levels. Data set description From several birds from Hop Island, Rauer Islands near Davis, samples were collected from preenoil (oil that birds excrete to preen their feathers. This preenoil was then analysed for organochlorine pollutants like polychlorinated biphenyls, (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), DDE and dieldrin. The species under investigation were the Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) and the Southern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialoides). The samples were collected from adult breeding birds, and stored in -20 degrees C as soon as possible. The analysis was done with relatively standard but very optimised methods, using a gas-chromatograph and mass-selective detection.
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