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Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8684-8708; doi:10.3390/su7078684

Development of a Framework for the Evaluation of the Environmental Benefits of Controlled Traffic Farming

Cranfield Soil and AgriFood Institute, Cranfield University, Cranfield, MK43 OAL Bedford, UK
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Academic Editor: Tiziano Gomiero
Received: 21 May 2015 / Revised: 26 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 3 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues on Soil Management and Conservation)
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Abstract

Although controlled traffic farming (CTF) is an environmentally friendly soil management system, no quantitative evaluation of environmental benefits is available. This paper aims at establishing a framework for quantitative evaluation of the environmental benefits of CTF, considering a list of environmental benefits, namely, reducing soil compaction, runoff/erosion, energy requirement and greenhouse gas emission (GHG), conserving organic matter, enhancing soil biodiversity and fertiliser use efficiency. Based on a comprehensive literature review and the European Commission Soil Framework Directive, the choice of and the weighting of the impact of each of the environmental benefits were made. The framework was validated using data from three selected farms. For Colworth farm (Unilever, UK), the framework predicted the largest overall environmental benefit of 59.3% of the theoretically maximum achievable benefits (100%), as compared to the other two farms in Scotland (52%) and Australia (47.3%). This overall benefit could be broken down into: reducing soil compaction (24%), tillage energy requirement (10%) and GHG emissions (3%), enhancing soil biodiversity (7%) and erosion control (6%), conserving organic matter (6%), and improving fertiliser use efficiency (3%). Similar evaluation can be performed for any farm worldwide, providing that data on soil properties, topography, machinery, and weather are available. View Full-Text
Keywords: controlled traffic farming; environmental benefits; prediction framework controlled traffic farming; environmental benefits; prediction framework
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mouazen, A.M.; Palmqvist, M. Development of a Framework for the Evaluation of the Environmental Benefits of Controlled Traffic Farming. Sustainability 2015, 7, 8684-8708.

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