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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    Ethics, Risk and Benefits Associated with Different Applications of Nanotechnology: a Comparison of Expert and Consumer Perceptions of Drivers of Societal Acceptance
    Gupta, N. ; Fischer, A.R.H. ; Frewer, L.J. - \ 2015
    NanoEthics 9 (2015)2. - ISSN 1871-4757 - p. 93 - 108.
    repertory grid methodology - food-production - united-states - public acceptance - gm foods - attitudes - trust - technologies - knowledge - science
    Examining those risk and benefit perceptions utilised in the formation of attitudes and opinions about emerging technologies such as nanotechnology can be useful for both industry and policy makers involved in their development, implementation and regulation. A broad range of different socio-psychological and affective factors may influence consumer responses to different applications of nanotechnology, including ethical concerns. A useful approach to identifying relevant consumer concerns and innovation priorities is to develop predictive constructs which can be used to differentiate applications of nanotechnology in a way which is meaningful to consumers. This requires elicitation of attitudinal constructs from consumers, rather than measuring attitudes assumed to be important by the researcher. Psychological factors influencing societal responses to 15 applications of nanotechnology drawn from different application areas (e.g. medicine,agriculture and environment, food, military, sports, and cosmetics) were identified using repertory grid method in conjunction with generalised Procrustes analysis. The results suggested that people differentiate nanotechnology applications based on the extent to which they perceive them to be beneficial, useful,necessary and important. The benefits may be offset by perceived risks focusing on fear and ethical concerns. Compared to an earlier expert study on societal acceptance of nanotechnology, consumers emphasised ethical issues compared to experts but had less concern regarding potential physical contact with the product and time to market introduction. Consumers envisaged fewer issues with several applications compared to experts, in particular food applications.
    Gains to species diversity in organically farmed fields are not propagated at the farm level
    Schneider, M.K. ; Lüscher, G. ; Jeanneret, P. ; Jongman, R.H.G. - \ 2014
    Nature Communications 5 (2014). - ISSN 2041-1723 - 9 p.
    agri-environment schemes - different spatial scales - biodiversity conservation - conventional agriculture - european habitats - food-production - land-use - management - landscape - metaanalysis
    Organic farming is promoted to reduce environmental impacts of agriculture, but surprisingly little is known about its effects at the farm level, the primary unit of decision making. Here we report the effects of organic farming on species diversity at the field, farm and regional levels by sampling plants, earthworms, spiders and bees in 1470 fields of 205 randomly selected organic and nonorganic farms in twelve European and African regions. Species richness is, on average, 10.5% higher in organic than nonorganic production fields, with highest gains in intensive arable fields (around þ45%). Gains to species richness are partly caused by higher organism abundance and are common in plants and bees but intermittent in earthworms and spiders. Average gains are insignificant þ4.6% at the farm and þ3.1% at the regional level, even in intensive arable regions. Additional, targeted measures are therefore needed to fulfil the commitment of organic farming to benefit farmland biodiversity.
    Handling multi-functionality of livestock in a life cycle assessment: the case of smallholder dairying in Kenya
    Weiler, V. ; Udo, H.M.J. ; Viets, T.C. ; Crane, T.A. ; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2014
    Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 8 (2014). - ISSN 1877-3435 - p. 29 - 38.
    milk-production - food-production - systems - highlands - benefits
    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an acknowledged method to assess the contribution of livestock production to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Most LCA studies so far allocate GHG emissions of livestock to marketable outputs. Smallholder systems, however, provide several products and services besides the production of marketable products. We explored how to account for multi-functionality within the LCA method in a case of smallholder milk production in the Kaptumo area in Kenya. Expressed per kg of milk, GHG emissions were 2.0 (0.9–4.3) kg CO2-e, respectively in case of food allocation, 1.6 (0.8–2.9) kg CO2-e in case of economic function allocation and 1.1 (0.5–1.7) kg CO2-e in case of livelihood allocation. The two Carbon Footprint (CF) estimates of milk production considering multi-functionality were comparable to CF estimates of milk in intensive milk production systems. Future LCA's of smallholder systems should account for multi-functionality, because CF results and consequently mitigation options change depending on the functions included.
    Agriculture and nature: Trouble and strife?
    Baudron, F. ; Giller, K.E. - \ 2014
    Biological Conservation 170 (2014). - ISSN 0006-3207 - p. 232 - 245.
    soil fertility management - agri-environment schemes - land-use change - biodiversity conservation - habitat fragmentation - food-production - tropical conservation - farmland biodiversity - protect biodiversity - organic agriculture
    Global demand for agricultural products is expected to double in the next decades, putting tremendous pressure on agriculture to produce more. The bulk of this increase will come from developing countries, which host most biodiversity-rich areas of the planet. Whilst most biodiversity is found in production landscapes shared with people, where agriculture represents an increasing threat, international conservation organisations continue to focus on the maintenance and expansion of the network of protected areas. When conservation organisations partner with agricultural programmes, they promote low input, extensive agriculture. Combined with the focus on protected areas, this may exacerbate rather than mitigate conflicts between biodiversity conservation and agricultural production. Two models have been proposed to increase agricultural production whilst minimising the negative consequences for biodiversity: ‘land sparing’ and ‘land sharing’. Although often polarized in debates, both are realistic solutions, depending on the local circumstances. We propose a number of criteria that could guide the choice towards one or the other. We conclude that general principles to be considered in both land sparing and land sharing are: managing spillover effects, maintaining resilience and ecosystem services, accounting for landscape structure, reducing losses and wastes, improving access to agricultural products in developing countries and changing consumption patterns in developed countries, and developing supportive markets and policies.
    Spatial variability of climate change impacts on yield of rice and wheat in the Indian Ganga Basin
    Mishra, A. ; Singh, R. ; Raghuwanshi, N.S. ; Chatterjee, C. ; Froebrich, J. - \ 2013
    Science of the Total Environment 468-469 (2013). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. S132 - S138.
    food-production - adaptation - simulation - temperature - northern - models
    Indian Ganga Basin (IGB), one of the most densely populated areas in the world, is facing a significant threat to food grain production, besides increased yield gap between actual and potential production, due to climate change. We have analyzed the spatial variability of climate change impacts on rice and wheat yields at three different locations representing the upper, middle and lower IGB. The DSSAT model is used to simulate the effects of climate variability and climate change on rice and wheat yields by analyzing: (i) spatial crop yield response to current climate, and (ii) impact of a changing climate as projected by two regional climate models, REMO and HadRM3, based on SRES A1B emission scenarios for the period 2011-2040. Results for current climate demonstrate a significant gap between actual and potential yield for upper, middle and lower IGB stations. The analysis based on RCM projections shows that during 2011-2040, the largest reduction in rice and wheat yields will occur in the upper IGB (reduction of potential rice and wheat yield respectively by 43.2% and 20.9% by REMO, and 24.8% and 17.2% by HadRM3). In the lower IGB, however, contrasting results are obtained, with HadRM3 based projections showing an increase in the potential rice and wheat yields, whereas, REMO based projections show decreased potential yields. We discuss the influence of agro-climatic factors; variation in temperature, length of maturity period and leaf area index which are responsible for modeled spatial variability in crop yield response within the IGB. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    An analysis of developments and challenges in nutrient management in China
    Ma, L. ; Zhang, W.F. ; Ma, W.Q. ; Velthof, G.L. ; Oenema, O. ; Zhang, F.S. - \ 2013
    Journal of Environmental Quality 42 (2013)4. - ISSN 0047-2425 - p. 951 - 961.
    reducing environmental risk - crop system management - use-efficiency - food-production - chlorophyll meter - winter-wheat - nitrogen-use - soil - agriculture - phosphorus
    During the past 50 years, China has successfully realized food self-sufficiency for its rapidly growing population. Currently, it feeds 22% of the global population with 9% of the global area of arable land. However, these achievements were made at high external resource use and environmental costs. The challenge facing China is to further increase food production while drastically decreasing the environmental costs of food production. Here we review the major developments in nutrient management in China over the last 50 years. We briefly analyze the current organizational structure of the “advisory system” in agriculture, the developments in nutrient management for crop production, and the developments in nutrient management in animal production. We then discuss the nutrient management challenges for the next decades, considering nutrient management in the whole chain of crop production–animal production–food processing–food consumption by households. We argue that more coherent national policies and institutional structures are required for research extension education to be able to address the immense challenges ahead. Key actions include nutrient management in the whole food chain concomitant with a shift in objectives from food security only to food security, resource use efficiency, and environmental sustainability; improved animal waste management based on coupled animal production and crop production systems; and much greater emphasis on technology transfer from science to practice through education, training, demonstration, and extension services.
    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.
    Nitrogen mass flow in China's animal production system and environmental implications
    Wang, F. ; Dou, Z. ; Ma, L. ; Ma, W.C. ; Sims, J.T. ; Zhang, F. - \ 2010
    Journal of Environmental Quality 39 (2010)5. - ISSN 0047-2425 - p. 1537 - 1544.
    food-production - dairy farms
    China's economic boom in recent decades has stimulated consumer demand for animal products and consequently, a vast expansion in animal production. From 1978 to 2006, the number of animals increased by 322% for pigs, 209% for poultry, and 2770% for dairy cattle. The objective of the present study was to quantify nitrogen mass flow in China's animal production system at the national scale and to elucidate potential environmental implications. A comprehensive analysis was performed combining statistical records with data from the scientific literature and supplemental survey information. Results indicate that approximately 18 Mt of N flowed through the Chinese animal production system in 2006. Nitrogen input to the system was from various feed materials, including 6.8 Mt (38% of total) from roughage, 4.4 Mt (24%) from byproducts, 2.3 Mt (13%) from cereal grains, and 1.6 Mt (9%) each from crop residues and oilseed cakes, with the remaining N (16%) obtained from other feedstuffs. Nitrogen outputs from the system included edible animal products (2.4 t, 13% of total), nonedible animal parts (e.g., bones, skins) (3.8 Mt, 21%), and excreta (12 Mt, 66%). At the national level, the excreta would average 28 Mg (as excreted) and 90 kg N ha(-1) of cropland. However, at the provincial level, it varied from 1 Mg ha(-1) (5 kg N ha(-1)) in Qinghai to 97 Mg ha(-1) (243 kg N ha(-1)) in Sichuan. In regions with excreta in the intermediate rate (e.g., Hebei Province, 115 kg N ha(-1)) or high rare (e.g., Sichuan Province, 243 kg N ha(-1)), animal manure contributes significantly to nutrients polluting groundwater and/or surface waters. It is crucial for China to develop and implement proper management practices to maximum the beneficial use of the 12 Mt excreta N while minimizing its environmental footprint.
    Vulnerability and adaptation of European farmer: a multi-level analysis of yield and income responses to climate variability
    Reidsma, P. ; Ewert, F. ; Oude Lansink, A.G.J.M. ; Leemans, R. - \ 2009
    Regional Environmental Change 9 (2009)1. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 25 - 40.
    agricultural land-use - crop models - adaptive capacity - food-production - elevated co2 - impacts - policy - wheat - trends - heterogeneity
    Climate change will affect crop yields and consequently farmers¿ income. The underlying relationships are not well understood, particularly the importance of crop management and related factors at the farm and regional level. We analyze the impacts of trends and variability in climatic conditions from 1990 to 2003 on trends and variability in yields of five crops and farmers¿ income at farm type and regional level in Europe considering farm characteristics and other factors. While Mediterranean regions are often characterized as most vulnerable to climate change, our data suggest effective adaptation to variable and changing conditions in these regions largely attributable to the characteristic farm types in these regions. We conclude that for projections of climate change impacts on agriculture, farm characteristics influencing management and adaptation should be considered, as they largely influence the potential impacts
    Nitrogen flow and use efficiency in production and utilization of wheat, rice and maize in China
    Ma, W.Q. ; Li, J. ; Wang, F.H. ; Sisák, I. ; Cushman, G. ; Zhang, F.S. - \ 2008
    Agricultural Systems 99 (2008)1. - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 53 - 62.
    food-production - world - consumption - management - system
    China has long been the world’s most populous nation and faced the double challenge of ensuring its food security without causing catastrophic damage to the environment. Since the early 1960s, Chinese agricultural development has been premised on large domestic increases in nitrogen (N) fertilizer production and consumption. However, current utilization of fertilizer is far beyond optimum, with the fate of excess N largely unknown. Here, we report on N flows, losses, and use efficiency in the production and utilization of three major grain crops using data from 2004. We also use a scenario analysis to explore strategies for improving N use efficiency. Our calculations show that N use efficiency in food production and utilization is much lower than previously published estimates. Mean N surpluses of crop fields were 144 kg/ha for wheat, 184 kg/ha for rice, and 120 kg/ha for maize. We estimate that between 50% and 85% of N harvested as grain is lost for utilization by humans and animals. Fertilizer N use efficiency (FNUE) values in crop–animal system for wheat, rice, and maize were 13.4%, 11.3%, and 3.7%, respectively. This means 7.5, 8.9 and 27.1 kg of N fertilizer were required to produce 1 kg of N in food via fertilization for these three grains. Major room exists for improving the efficiency of N flow in Chinese crop systems. Our scenario analyses shows that increases in N use efficiency of fertilizer applied to cropland (RE), decreasing ratios of grain N headed to plant food processing (GUP), and increasing efficiency in animal production (ANU) would result in a marked decrease in N loss from these three crops amounting to one million ton of N, which accounted for 6% of total chemical fertilizer input. Improved N management in Chinese food production has major ramifications for global estimations of N use efficiency and environmental pollution by reactive N, particularly nitrous oxide emissions, a major anthropogenic contributor to global climate change.
    From forest to waste: Assessment of the Brazilian soybean chain, using nitrogen as a marker.
    Smaling, E.M.A. ; Roscoe, R. ; Lesschen, J.P. ; Bouwman, A.F. ; Comunello, E. - \ 2008
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 128 (2008)3. - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 185 - 197.
    soil nutrient balances - food-production - organic-matter - cultivation - environment - fertilizer - density - level - flows - scale
    Soybean (Glycine max) is a booming crop in Brazil. In 2004, the export value was equivalent to 10 billion US $, covering over 10% of total Brazilian exports. Three-quarters of total production leaves the country, mainly to China and the European Union (EU). Soybean cultivation in Brazil is expected to expand further in the coming decades, mainly responding to growing demand in Asia. This will, amongst others, entail transport of vast amounts of nutrients, triggering the need to better study the entire soybean chain. The objective of this study was to estimate and calculate the soybean chain, including five phases: conversion, cultivation, transport and processing, consumption and waste disposal, starting in Brazil, and ending in Brazil, China and EU, using nitrogen (N) as a marker, and looking at three time periods (1993¿1995; 1998¿2000; 2003¿2005). The study revealed that conversion of forest and savanna to pasture and agricultural land entails N losses of 2000¿6000 million kg year¿1. Removal of N in soybean harvests went up from 1400 million to almost 3000 million kg year¿1 between 1993¿1995 and 2003¿2005. These high values were offset by biological N fixation by soybean and increased adoption of conservation agriculture. N balances in soybean-based agricultural systems became positive after about one decade in the period 2003¿2005, thus reducing the soybean-associated global N cascade. Upon crushing, three-quarters of soybeans end up as high-protein soy meal, which is mainly fed to pigs and chickens. Nitrogen in meat, milk and eggs from soy meal-fed animals was estimated at around 20% of N in freshly crushed soy meal. More than half of the lost N can potentially be recycled, although mostly far away from the site of soybean production.
    Global Economics of Nutrient Cycling
    Janssen, B.H. ; Oenema, O. - \ 2008
    Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry 32 (2008)3. - ISSN 1300-011X - p. 165 - 176.
    nitrogen use efficiency - food-production - sewage water - soil - management - sustainability - agriculture - phosphates - costs - farm
    This paper briefly discusses global human requirements of protein nitrogen (N) from crops and animals, and then estimates the need for fertilizer N as a function of N use efficiency, and the recycling of N from animal manure and sewage wastes. These estimates are based on various assumptions and simple calculations. Results suggest that globally only 1% of N input is retained, 28% is lost to the wider environment, and some 70% is potentially available for recycling via manure and sewage. In addition, large amounts of nutrients recycle via crop residues. In practice, only a fraction of this potential is realized, in part because of the segregation of crop production systems from animal production (land-less livestock) systems and of the lack of economic incentives for recycling. As a consequence, nutrient use efficiency is low and nutrients are lost to the environment and create a cascade of unwanted side-effects. To economize on nutrients, side-effects of their use have to be internalized in decision making. This may be done via deposits and/or taxes to emphasize the non-disposal nature of nutrients. Increasingly, government policies provide incentives for recycling nutrients, but there are clear limits to the implementation of environmental regulations. Instead, we foresee a role for the fertilizer industry in processing and recycling animal manure from land-less livestock systems.
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