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Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4089; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114089

A Practical Comparison of Regionalized Land Use and Biodiversity Life Cycle Impact Assessment Models Using Livestock Production as a Case Study

MARETEC—Marine, Environment and Technology Centre, LARSyS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, 1649-001 Lisboa, Portugal
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Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 27 October 2018 / Accepted: 30 October 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)
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Abstract

Land use is increasingly important for impact assessment in life cycle assessment (LCA). Its impacts on biodiversity and provision of ecosystem services are crucial to depict the environmental performance of products. Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) models are commonly selected by consensus through processes frequently misinformed by the absence of practical application studies. Here, we performed an assessment of all free and peer-reviewed LCIA models for land use. We started with spatial correlation analysis at the country scale. Models that use the same indicators are strongly correlated, suggesting that regionalization is no longer a decisive issue in model selection. We applied these models in a case study for cattle production where feeds are replaced by sown biodiverse pastures (SBP). We tested (1) a non-regionalized inventory from an LCA database and, (2) a regionalized inventory that explicit considered the locations of land occupation and transformation. We found the same qualitative result: the installation of SBP avoids impacts due to feed substitution. Each hectare of SBP installed avoids the occupation of 0.5 hectares per year for feed ingredient production. Adding inventory regionalization for 70% of land use flows leads to a change of 15% in results, suggesting limited spatial differentiation between country-level characterization factors. View Full-Text
Keywords: Life Cycle Impact Assessment; regionalization; spatial correlation; livestock production; grazing; industrial ecology Life Cycle Impact Assessment; regionalization; spatial correlation; livestock production; grazing; industrial ecology
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Teixeira, R.F.M.; Morais, T.G.; Domingos, T. A Practical Comparison of Regionalized Land Use and Biodiversity Life Cycle Impact Assessment Models Using Livestock Production as a Case Study. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4089.

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