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Open AccessArticle

“BalSim”: A Carbon, Nitrogen and Greenhouse Gas Mass Balance Model for Pastures

1
MARETEC – Marine, Environment and Technology Centre, LARSyS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
2
Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (cE3c), Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
3
ICAAM, University of Évora, Núcleo da Mitra apartado 94, 7006-554 Évora, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010053
Received: 1 October 2018 / Revised: 14 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)
Animal production systems are increasingly required to co-produce meat products and other ecosystem services. Sown biodiverse pastures (SBP) were developed in Portugal as an improvement over semi-natural pastures (SNP). SBP increase yields and animal intake during grazing, are substantial carbon sinks, and the abundance of legumes in the mixtures provides plants with a biological source of nitrogen. However, the data available and the data demands of most models make integrated modelling of these effects difficult. Here, we developed “BalSim”, a mass balance approach for the estimation of carbon and nitrogen flows and the direct greenhouse gas (GHG) balance of the two production systems. Results show that, on average, the on-farm GHG balance is −2.6 and 0.8 t CO2e/ha.yr for SBP and SNP, respectively. Ignoring the effects of carbon sequestration, and taking into account only non-CO2 emissions, the systems are responsible for 17.0 and 16.3 kg CO2e/kg live weight.yr. The annual analysis showed that non-CO2 emissions were highest in a drought year due to decreased yield and stocking rate. We also showed through scenario analysis that matching the grazing level to the yield is crucial to minimize emissions and ensure reduced feed supplementation while maintaining high soil carbon stocks. View Full-Text
Keywords: Livestock production; Extensive meat production; Global Warming Potential; Nutrient cycles; Modelling; Biodiversity; Cleaner production; Farmer advisory; Industrial Ecology Livestock production; Extensive meat production; Global Warming Potential; Nutrient cycles; Modelling; Biodiversity; Cleaner production; Farmer advisory; Industrial Ecology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Teixeira, R.F.M.; Barão, L.; Morais, T.G.; Domingos, T. “BalSim”: A Carbon, Nitrogen and Greenhouse Gas Mass Balance Model for Pastures. Sustainability 2019, 11, 53. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010053

AMA Style

Teixeira RFM, Barão L, Morais TG, Domingos T. “BalSim”: A Carbon, Nitrogen and Greenhouse Gas Mass Balance Model for Pastures. Sustainability. 2019; 11(1):53. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010053

Chicago/Turabian Style

Teixeira, Ricardo F.M.; Barão, Lúcia; Morais, Tiago G.; Domingos, Tiago. 2019. "“BalSim”: A Carbon, Nitrogen and Greenhouse Gas Mass Balance Model for Pastures" Sustainability 11, no. 1: 53. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010053

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