A nursery is a primary system, providing materials used in secondary areas of production such as horticulture, orchards, or forestry. Although the young plants produced in a nursery constitute the fundamental unit of many manufacturing processes, the application of environmental indicators in nursery systems is rare. Several studies indicate that the role of the nursery specifically in the impact assessment of fruit products is usually underestimated or not acknowledged. Reference models for the application of an environmental assessment method, such as ecological footprint analysis (EFA), in nursery systems are also scarce. In this study, a general model of a nursery system is developed taking into consideration the available literature on the topic, adopting a life cycle approach, and the suitability in the application of several environmental assessment methods. An EFA was applied to a real case study in northern Italy in order to validate the model. Strengths and weakness of two units (100 grafted plant to be sold and one hectare production surface) are discussed in the light of the results obtained in the case study. Among other case specific results, plastic had the highest relative environmental impact in the nursery system (about 80% of the value of the total footprint), making it the main resource used which should be re-considered to improve the environmental performance of the system. According to the proposed model, the nursery stage accounts for almost 17% of the entire environmental impact of the main orchard system connected to the nursery in the case study.

Assessing environmental impacts of nursery production: methodological issues and results from a case study in Italy

BECCARO, GABRIELE LORIS;CERUTTI, ALESSANDRO KIM;DONNO, DARIO;BOUNOUS, Giancarlo
2014

Abstract

A nursery is a primary system, providing materials used in secondary areas of production such as horticulture, orchards, or forestry. Although the young plants produced in a nursery constitute the fundamental unit of many manufacturing processes, the application of environmental indicators in nursery systems is rare. Several studies indicate that the role of the nursery specifically in the impact assessment of fruit products is usually underestimated or not acknowledged. Reference models for the application of an environmental assessment method, such as ecological footprint analysis (EFA), in nursery systems are also scarce. In this study, a general model of a nursery system is developed taking into consideration the available literature on the topic, adopting a life cycle approach, and the suitability in the application of several environmental assessment methods. An EFA was applied to a real case study in northern Italy in order to validate the model. Strengths and weakness of two units (100 grafted plant to be sold and one hectare production surface) are discussed in the light of the results obtained in the case study. Among other case specific results, plastic had the highest relative environmental impact in the nursery system (about 80% of the value of the total footprint), making it the main resource used which should be re-considered to improve the environmental performance of the system. According to the proposed model, the nursery stage accounts for almost 17% of the entire environmental impact of the main orchard system connected to the nursery in the case study.
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Ecological footprint analysis, Life cycle inventory, Protected cultivation, Nursery model, Sustainable agriculture
Beccaro G.L.; Cerutti A.K.; Vandecasteele I.; Bonvegna L.; Donno D.; Bounous G.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/148145
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