Assessment of the Carbon and Non-Carbon Footprint Interactions of Livestock Production in Eastern and Western Canada.

Dyer, J.A., Vergé, X.P.C., Desjardins, R.L., and McConkey, B.G. (2014). "Assessment of the Carbon and Non-Carbon Footprint Interactions of Livestock Production in Eastern and Western Canada.", Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 38(5), pp. 541-572. doi : 10.1080/21683565.2013.870631  Access to full text

Abstract

This article assessed the carbon footprint (CFP) and local environment interface in the Canadian livestock industry. The livestock production activities that generate GHG emissions in Canada organized into four management groups: Farm animals, manure systems, crop production, and farm inputs, were used to define the system boundaries of a life cycle assessment (LCA). For the environmental assessment (EA) stage of the LCA an environmental impact matrix and a network diagram was used to identify the non-CFP of Canadian livestock production. The Unified Livestock Industry and Crop Emissions Estimation System (ULICEES) model was used to estimate the livestock CFP. An index derived from agricultural extension literature was used to assign weights to the non-CFP impacts during the EA stage of the LCA. The attention given to these impacts in this literature, factored by the crop areas associated with each issue and livestock type, resulted in the area-reference index (ARI). The impacts were assessed on the basis of Eastern and Western Canada and on two broad classes of Canadian livestock: ruminants and non-ruminants. Non-ruminants showed much less east–west difference in greenhouse gas emissions than ruminants. The farm animals component had the highest protein based emission intensity. The highest ARI contribution to the non-CFP was from growing annual feed grains for both ruminants and non-ruminants.

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