Life cycle assessment of red raspberry production – a comparative case study of open field and tunnel production in Finland

M. Rantanen, K. Joensuu, K. Räsänen, F. Silvenius, K. Usva, K. Rikala, S. Karhu
Red raspberry has traditionally been grown as a perennial open-field crop in Finland. However, due to winter injuries and fruit quality losses under bad weather conditions, 70% of the Finnish raspberry yield is now produced in tunnels as annual production. While agronomic benefits are widely known, the environmental impacts of tunnel production have been less studied. The life cycle assessment (LCA) approach was used to compare the environmental impacts of open field (OF) and tunnel (TU) production of red raspberry. The system boundaries included the production chain from input production until a ready-to-sell product. Growing data for three years were collected from four representative Finnish raspberry growers to assess environmental impacts in eight impact categories such as climate change impact, eutrophication impact, and land occupation. Environmental impacts were allocated for yield mass (kg). Up to ten times higher yields in TU than in OF equalized the difference between the input-intensive TU and the low-input OF. In most of the categories no differences between the production systems were found, but the environmental impacts came from different sources. E.g., in TU, production of the inputs such as fertilizers and substrate, and tunnel structures and other materials caused two thirds of the climate change impact whereas in OF, share of the growing activities made up over half of the climate change impact. Eutrophication impact and land use were 60 and 70% lower in TU, respectively, as compared to OF. The results indicate that resource efficiency and growing expertise to achieve high yields are important factors to decrease environmental impacts.
Rantanen, M., Joensuu, K., Räsänen, K., Silvenius, F., Usva, K., Rikala, K. and Karhu, S. (2024). Life cycle assessment of red raspberry production – a comparative case study of open field and tunnel production in Finland. Acta Hortic. 1388, 165-170
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2024.1388.25
berry production, environmental impacts, cultivation system, land occupation, use of chemical plant protection products

Acta Horticulturae