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Methodological aspects of environmental assessment of livestock production by LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  2012 IX International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES IX)  ILES12-0945.(doi:10.13031/2013.41541)
Authors:   Lorie Hamelin, Henrik Wenzel
Keywords:   Livestock production, life cycle assessment (LCA), Best Available Techniques (BAT)

Mitigation technologies for livestock production systems endeavor to reduce the emissions to the environment from this sector of activity. However, reducing the emissions at one point of the livestock production system most often involves the potential for increased emissions at another stage of the continuum. This paper illustrates the necessity to use a holistic perspective when striving to assess the environmental performance of a livestock production system, and proposes a simplified and operational assessment framework in order to do so. It elaborates on the methodological dimension of livestock-related LCAs, i.e. it describes the essential environmental impacts categories to include, the stages of the livestock system to comprise and the effects on adjoining systems like energy and fertilizer production to account for. Further, it explains the comparative nature of environmental assessment and how to use reference systems as the basis of comparison of alternative techniques.

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