Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Life cycle assessment of Swiss farming systems: II. Extensive and intensive production

Contents:

Author Info

  • Nemecek, Thomas
  • Huguenin-Elie, Olivier
  • Dubois, David
  • Gaillard, Gérard
  • Schaller, Britta
  • Chervet, Andreas
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Extensive or low-input farming is considered a way of remedying many problems associated with intensive farming practices. But do extensive farming systems really result in a clear reduction in environmental impacts, especially if their lower productivity is taken into account? This question is studied for Swiss arable cropping and forage production systems in a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) study. Three long-term experiments (DOC experiment comparing bio-dynamic, bio-organic and conventional farming, the "Burgrain" experiment including integrated intensive, integrated extensive and organic systems and the "Oberacker" experiment with conventional ploughing and no-till soil cultivation, are considered in the LCA study. Furthermore, model systems for arable crops and forage production for feeding livestock are investigated by using the Swiss Agricultural Life Cycle Assessment method (SALCA). The analysis covers an overall extensification of cropping systems and forage production on the one hand and a partial extensification of fertiliser use, plant protection and soil cultivation on the other. The overall extensification of an intensively managed system reduced environmental impacts in general, both per area unit and per product unit. In arable cropping systems medium production intensity gave the best results for the environment, and the intensity should not fall below the environmental optimum in order to avoid a deterioration of eco-efficiency. In grassland systems, on the contrary, a combination of both intensively and extensively managed plots was preferable to medium intensity practices on the whole area. The differences in yield, production intensity and environmental impact were much more pronounced in grassland than in arable cropping systems. Partial extensification of a farming system should be conceived in the context of the whole system in order to be successful. For example, the extensification solely of fertiliser use and soil cultivation resulted in a general improvement in the environmental performance of the farming system, whereas a reduction in plant protection intensity by banning certain pesticide categories reduced negative impacts on ecotoxicity and biodiversity only, while increasing other burdens such as global warming, ozone formation, eutrophication and acidification per product unit. The replacement of mineral fertilisers by farmyard manure as a special form of extensification reduced resource use and improved soil quality, while slightly increasing nutrient losses. These results show that a considerable environmental improvement potential exists in Swiss farming systems and that a detailed eco-efficiency analysis could help to target a further reduction in their environmental impacts.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6T3W-51H1NRK-1/2/abdb5d3f8d27e0416b214386c20054f5
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Agricultural Systems.

    Volume (Year): 104 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (March)
    Pages: 233-245

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:3:p:233-245

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/agsy

    Related research

    Keywords: Farming systems Intensive production Extensive production Low-input farming Life cycle assessment Environmental impacts;

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Viglizzo, E. F. & Roberto, Z. E., 1998. "On trade-offs in low-input agroecosystems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 253-264, February.
    2. Nemecek, Thomas & Dubois, David & Huguenin-Elie, Olivier & Gaillard, Gérard, 2011. "Life cycle assessment of Swiss farming systems: I. Integrated and organic farming," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 217-232, March.
    3. Mouron, Patrik & Scholz, Roland W. & Nemecek, Thomas & Weber, Olaf, 2006. "Life cycle management on Swiss fruit farms: Relating environmental and income indicators for apple-growing," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 561-578, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Nemecek, Thomas & Dubois, David & Huguenin-Elie, Olivier & Gaillard, Gérard, 2011. "Life cycle assessment of Swiss farming systems: I. Integrated and organic farming," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 217-232, March.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:3:p:233-245. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.