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Reconciling Life Cycle Environmental Impacts with Ecosystem Services: A Management Perspective on Agricultural Land Use

Longlong Tang (), Kiyotada Hayashi (), Kazunori Kohyama () and Ai Leon ()
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Longlong Tang: Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, 3-1-3 Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8604, Japan
Kiyotada Hayashi: Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, 3-1-3 Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8604, Japan
Kazunori Kohyama: Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, 3-1-3 Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8604, Japan
Ai Leon: Graduate School of Energy Science, Kyoto University, Yoshida-Honmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 3, 1-16

Abstract: Impacts on ecosystem services that are related to agricultural land use greatly differ depending on management practices employed. This study aimed to reveal issues associated with evaluating ecosystem services related to land use at the management level during life cycle assessment (LCA) and to consider future challenges. Firstly, a relationship between agricultural ecosystem services and management practices was outlined. Then, a survey was performed to disclose the current status of assessment of impact of land use in agricultural LCA case studies that compared between different management practices. In addition, this study also investigated how management practices have been differently considered by factors that characterize ecosystem services that are related to land use. The results show that the number of agricultural LCA cases where land use impacts instead of land areas were assessed was still small. The results of limited LCA case studies, which using factors could differentiate between various management practices, suggest that although organic farming methods have been employed over large land areas, lower impact may be caused by agricultural land use. For factors developed in existing research, services related to soil quality, and some of the regulatory services were considered, those unique to agriculture were missing. Although most of factors were calculated at levels of intensity or land use type, some of them were based on a process-based model that could consider management practices. In the future, factors that characterize the impacts of land use on ecosystem services, such as carbon storage and erosion prevention, will need to be calculated at the management level. For ecosystem services, such as habitat conservation and pollination, further efforts in accumulating evaluation case studies that collect and accumulate foreground data are important.

Keywords: agricultural product system; characterization factor; ecosystem service; land use; life cycle impact assessment; management practice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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