Life Cycle Assessment of Maize Cropping under Different Fertilization Alternatives
Volume 10, Number 4, June 2014 - Paper 10 - pp. 427-436
AMALIA ZUCARO1, A. FORTE1, M. FAGNANO2, A. FIERRO11 Dipartimento di Biologia, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Napoli, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Agraria, Università di Napoli Federico II, Napoli, Italy
(Received on Aug. 02, 2013, revised on Sept.30 and Oct.19, 2013, and finally on Jan.22, 2014)
A Life Cycle Assessment was performed to compare the environmental impacts generated by Mediterranean maize crops (Southern Italy) under conventional management and C-friendly management aimed to preserve soil organic matter and reduce mineral N fertilizers application. Primary data from three fertilizing practices were processed: urea (CONV, conventional), compost (COM) and green manure (GMAN) distribution. Suitable comparisons among treatments were carried out by adopting the same system boundary (one hectare of cropped land) and functional unit (1kgmaize dry matter). Direct field emissions were calculated and the short term soil carbon storage, experimentally derived for COM and GMAN, was also included. Results indicate that the highest impacts are from chemical fertilizers over the background industrial supply chain. GMAN showed the lower environmental burdens, while soil protection strategy expected for COM appeared not sustainable, due to the low crop yield achieved.
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