Estimation of N2O fluxes at the regional scale: data, models, challenges
Leip, A. ; Busto, M. ; Corazzo, M. ; Bergamaschi, P. ; Koeble, R. ; Dechow, R. ; Monni, S. ; Vries, W. de - \ 2011
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 3 (2011)5. - ISSN 1877-3435 - p. 328 - 338.
nitrous-oxide emissions - greenhouse-gas inventory - agricultural soils - land-use - european agriculture - mechanistic model - ipcc methodology - cropped soils - uncertainty - information
Empirical and process-based models simulating N2O fluxes from agricultural soils have the advantage that they can be applied at the scale at which mitigation measures can be designed and implemented. We compared bottom-up results from studies providing N2O fluxes at a regional/country or continental scale with estimates from the process-based model DNDC-EUROPE and from the TM5-4DVAR inverse modeling system. While the agreement between different bottom-up models is generally satisfying, only in a few cases a thorough validation of the result was done. Complex empirical or process-based models do not appear to have a better agreement with inverse model results in estimating N2O emissions from agricultural soils for countries or country-groups than simple ones. Both bottom-up and inverse models are limited by the density and quality of observations. Research needs to focus on developing tools that inherit the advantages of both methods.
A conceptual framework for the assessment of multiple functions of agro-ecosystems: a case study of Trás-os-Montes olive groves
Fleskens, L. ; Duarte, F. ; Eicher, I. - \ 2009
Journal of Rural Studies 25 (2009)1. - ISSN 0743-0167 - p. 141 - 155.
agri-environmental relationships - non-commodity outputs - multifunctional agriculture - european agriculture - post-productivism - organic farms - land-use - valuation - sustainability - landscape
Multifunctionality in agriculture has received a lot of attention the last decade from researchers and policy-makers alike, perhaps most notably evidenced by the important changes made to the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. While the concept has been embraced by environmentalists envisioning positive impulses for decoupling and a range of local stakeholders recognizing implicit marketing opportunities involved, it has also been criticized as a mere argument in favour of disguised protectionism. Problematic in this discussion is the lack of an operationalising framework for the assessment of multiple functions. In this paper, we discuss such a framework and the role it can play in the decision-making process. Focusing on a case study about olive farming on sloping and mountainous land in northeastern Portugal, the contribution discusses methods for studying multiple functions of agro-ecosystems. While function assessment is presented from a research perspective, its relevance for stakeholders is also stressed here. By using the metaphor of a house, the method could appeal to a wide range of actors. In the case study, we conclude that olive groves on sloping and mountainous land particularly fall short in supplying ecological functions. They do however contribute significantly to the local economy, generate employment and perform an important role in maintaining the cultural landscape and identity, and are thus vital to regional development and to stop outmigration of the population. Policy-makers could use the function assessment tool to design effective cross-compliance rules and relevant agro-environmental measures to reinforce ecological and social functions, and to communicate ideas to other stakeholders. As such, it provides an extension of public debate and can reinforce decision-making by visualizing trends, development alternatives or scenarios. The role of research in this method is to facilitate dialogue between stakeholder groups and to feed the process with relevant indicators.
Evaluation of sustainability of organic, integrated and conventional farming systems: a farm and field-scale analysis
Pacini, G.C. ; Wossink, G.A.A. ; Vazzana, C. ; Huirne, R.B.M. - \ 2003
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 95 (2003). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 273 - 288.
european agriculture - indicators
Agricultural researchers widely recognise the importance of sustainable agricultural production systems and the need to develop appropriate methods to measure sustainability. The principal purpose of this paper is to evaluate the financial and environmental aspects of sustainability of organic, integrated and conventional farming systems (OFS, IFS and CFS, respectively) at farm level and on more detailed spatial scales. This was achieved by applying an integrated economic-environmental accounting framework to three case study farms in Tuscany (Italy) covering different farming systems (FSs) and different spatial scales. The environmental performances of the FSs were measured through the application of an environmental accounting information system (EAIS) at field, site and farm level. The EAIS indicators were then integrated with: (1) a set of financial indicators to evaluate the economic and environmental trade-offs between different FSs and (2) with information on the regional and site-specific soil and climate conditions to study the impact of different pedo-climates on the environmental performances of the FSs. The gross margins of steady-state OFSs were found to be higher than the corresponding CFS gross margins. The OFSs perform better than IFSs and CFSs with respect to nitrogen losses, pesticide risk, herbaceous plant biodiversity and most of the other environmental indicators. However, on hilly soils, erosion was found to be higher in OFSs than in CFSs. The pesticide and the nitrogen indicators in this study showed a similar environmental impact caused by integrated and conventional farming practices. Regional pedo-climatic factors were found to have a considerable impact on nutrient losses, soil erosion, pesticide risk and herbaceous plant biodiversity, site-specific: factors on nutrient losses and soil erosion. Results at field level suggest that herbaceous plant biodiversity and crop production are not always conflicting variables. Results of the case study farms are discussed and compared with environmental sustainability thresholds reported from EU Directives on nitrate and pesticides in groundwater and the literature. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.