Effect of sustainable production systems on carbon and water footprint in fruit tree orchards
Climate changes (mainly increased temperature and precipitation changes) will have agricultural consequences due to the interrelations between climate and soil degradation, land and water use, and landscape changes. Analysis of water and carbon resource use at a farm scale could contribute to design practices with no (or minimum) impact on the environment. Carbon footprint (CF) and water footprint (WF) are being used to indicate the impacts of the C and W use by production systems. This paper reports the effects of sustainable orchard management practices (e.g., no-tillage, retention of pruning residues, compost application, guided irrigation) on CF and WF in fruit tree orchards. Results show that CF decreases in a sustainably-managed orchard (-0.79 kgCO2 kgfruits-1) compared to locally conventional managed orchard fields (0.14 kgCO2 kgfruits-1), and is acting as a sink for carbon. The WF analysis shows that the sustainable practices contributed to the ~40% reduction of the blue water component use, associated with a corresponding increase of the green water component use. Hence, the good practices adopted may represent a local (farm scale) tool for mitigation of a global problem.
Xiloyannis, C., Fiore, A., Mininni, A.N., Xylogiannis, E., Montanaro, G. and Dichio, B. (2016). Effect of sustainable production systems on carbon and water footprint in fruit tree orchards. Acta Hortic. 1130, 19-24
sustainability, environmental-friendly practices, CO2-equivalent emissions, RDI