A proposed approach to estimate and reduce the environmental impact from whole farms.

Kröbel, R., Janzen, H.H., Beauchemin, K.A., Bonesmo, H., Little, S.M., and McAllister, T.A. (2013). "A proposed approach to estimate and reduce the environmental impact from whole farms.", Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science, 62(4), pp. 225-232. doi : 10.1080/09064702.2013.770912  Access to full text

Abstract

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions remain an important field of agricultural research. Apart from measuring, simulations are frequently used to investigate management impacts on GHG emissions. The HOLOS model has been developed (using country specific emission factors) to explore potential mitigation practices with respect to GHG emission reduction or increased carbon storage. However, avoided GHG emissions can create nutrient surpluses, and thus other environmental hazards (e.g. for human and/or ecosystem health). We propose to expand the “Virtual Farm” concept by connecting the budgets carbon, nitrogen, and energy flows, and thus estimate environmental impacts as a function of management choices, environment, and climate influence. Initial tests to combine HOLOS with the carbon model Introductory Carbon Balance Model (ICBM) in Norway have been promising. The approach will be further developed for Canadian farming systems, based on a minimum of required input data, but with the option of using specific inputs if the data are available.

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