Environmental Evaluation and Benchmarking of Traditional Mediterranean Crop Farming System of Dryland Agriculture in the Alentejo Region of Portugal
This paper presents a case study in which the effects of traditional Mediterranean crop farming system of the Alentejo region of Portugal on environment are evaluated and benchmarked. With this objective a typical farm of the region using that traditional system based on a crop-rotation of durum wheat with sunflower and peas was selected. Environmental indicators were used to evaluate production activities environmental effects. These include nitrogen balance and energy input determined using input and output processes analysis, and greenhouse gas emissions, acidification and eutrophication impacts and an aggregate eco-indicator evaluated using life cycle analysis. Results show the relevance of rotating other crops with cereals to control environmental effects and promote typical Mediterranean crop farming system sustainability. Green peas and sunflower estimated contribution is a 40% decrease of overall composite indicator system impact. Energetic input and nitrogen balance levels of these crops also allow for a substantial reduction (34 and 24 %) of magnitude of average environmental effects of crop system due to their lower intensification energy and nitrogen input levels. Benchmarking of environmental indicators for Mediterranean traditional crop farming system of the Alentejo indicates that results are within bounds reported in the environmental scientific literature interval at levels below average, indicating relatively low environmental impacts relatively to other farming systems.
|Date of creation:||2012|
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