Integrated life-cycle assessment in sustainable and conventional apricot orchards in southern Italy
This paper focuses on the significance of including soil carbon changes in life-cycle assessments. In apricot orchards located in southern Italy, soil carbon changes (30 cm soil depth) have been estimated (Roth-C) throughout a 20-year lifespan for a sustainable orchard (no tillage, cover crops, application of 15 t ha-1 compost per year) and a conventional orchard (tillage, mineral fertilization and empirical management of water). These estimates were 81.6 (sustainable) and 4.7 (conventional) t ha-1 CO2. Classical life-cycle assessment (LCA) analysis (Simapro 8.0, Ecoinvent v. 3) showed that the overall CO2eq emissions were 147.3 (conventional) and 158.4 (sustainable) t ha-1 when the cradle to grave boundary system was used. The inclusion of changes of soil organic carbon (SOC) into LCA analysis (Simapro 8.0, Ecoinvent v. 3) compensated by 55% the overall CO2eq emissions in the sustainable orchard. Effects of the integrated LCA on carbon footprint are also discussed. Results indicated that adoption of the at farm gate boundary system has the potential to reveal that sustainable management leads the orchard to be a sink of CO2, contributing to the mitigation of the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration and improvement of the soil quality.
Lardo, E., Montanaro, G., Dichio, B. and Xiloyannis, C. (2018). Integrated life-cycle assessment in sustainable and conventional apricot orchards in southern Italy. Acta Hortic. 1214, 77-82
carbon footprint, ISO 14067, LCA, sink, source, soil organic carbon