Environmental impact of strawberry production in Italy and Switzerland with different cultivation practices.

Affiliation

Department of Environmental and Policy Science, Università degli Studi di Milano, via Celoria 2, 20133 Milan, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

In this study, the environmental impact of strawberry production in Italy and Switzerland was evaluated using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. The main differences between the two countries are the cultivation practices: crop cycle duration (1 year in Switzerland and 2 or 3 years in Italy), soil management and cultivation in open and protected fields. For all the environmental impact categories evaluated with LCA, strawberry production in Switzerland shows higher impacts respect to the Italian production. The impact reduction related to the Italian production in open fields without soil sterilisation ranges from 96% (for photochemical oxidant formation) to 35% (for freshwater eutrophication). For Swiss production, soil sterilisation is by far the main environmental hotspot for all the evaluated environmental effects except for toxicity-related impact categories and for resources consumption (i.e. manufacturing, maintenance and disposal of tunnel). Conversely, the main hotspot in Italy differs depending on the considered categories. Moreover, the 3-years cycle duration has a higher impact respect to the 2-years one because of the low yield in the third year that worsens the outcomes. Finally, sensitivity and uncertainty analysis were performed. The environmental results are deeply affected by yield variation and only slightly by changes in the life span of the tunnels while the uncertainty related to the selection of the data source, the model imprecision, and the variability of data does not affect significantly the results, except for the toxicity-related impact categories.

Keywords

Environmental assessment,Open field,Protected field,Soil sterilisation,Strawberry,

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