The bioenergy production greatly runs around the controversial interconnections among food, energy and environment that have noteworthy implications in various spheres. Using a cropping system approach, this study aimed at evaluating environmental impact variations associated to switching from traditional cereal, forage and horticultural systems to food/energy ones under Mediterranean conditions. The alternative scenarios included the introduction of rapeseed as dedicated energy crop in the cereal cropping systems, the valorization of artichoke residuals for energy production in the horticultural system and the shift from forage to biomass for energy production in the forage systems. A "cradle to farm gate" consequential Life Cycle Assessment approach was used that allowed to identify the environmental "hot spots" of the agricultural practices. The introduction of rapeseed into cereal crop systems and, to a lesser extent the conversion of forage systems into energy systems, showed positive effects on the environmental farming sustainability, with a variation of 32% and 8% burdens on land basis, respectively. The harvesting of artichoke residues for energy production required additional energy inputs leading to an increased impact compared to the solely edible heads harvest (+88%) on land basis. These findings provide useful information for improving agricultural practices and designing land allocation options among crops of these Mediterranean cropping systems aiming to minimize food/energy competition and environmental burdens.
Environmental consequences of the conversion from traditional to energy cropping systems in a Mediterranean area / Solinas, S.; Fazio, S.; Seddaiu, Giovanna; Roggero, Pier Paolo; Deligios, P. A.; Doro, L.; Ledda, Luigi. - In: EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF AGRONOMY. - ISSN 1161-0301. - 70:(2015), pp. 124-135. [10.1016/j.eja.2015.07.008]