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Open AccessArticle

Carbon Footprint of Lamb and Wool Production at Farm Gate and the Regional Scale in Southern Patagonia

1
Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), 9400 Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz, Argentina
2
Natural Resources Department, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia Austral (UNPA)—CONICET, 9400 Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz, Argentina
3
Laboratorio de Recursos Agroforestales, Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas (CADIC CONICET), 9410 Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
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Escuela de Agroforestería, Universidad Científica del Sur, Lima 15067, Peru
5
Laboratorio de SIG y Teledetección, Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), 41092 Sevilla, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3077; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083077
Received: 18 March 2020 / Revised: 8 April 2020 / Accepted: 9 April 2020 / Published: 11 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Footprint and Sustainability Assessment)
Natural steppe grasslands are the principal food resource for sheep in the Patagonia region, reared for meat and wool. However, there is currently a concern about the relationship between ruminant livestock and climate change due to its contribution to anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The objective of this study was to determine the carbon footprints (CF) of sheep meat (lamb) and wool on a range of farms using empirical data collected on farm and then upscaled to the regional scale using models that use topographic, climatic, and vegetation indices as independent variables. At the regional level, the total CF of lamb and wool (the combination of emissions produced on farm, via transport, and via industrial processing) varied from 10.64 to 41.32 kg CO2-eq/kg for lamb meat (carcass) and from 7.83 to 18.70 kg CO2-eq/kg for fine-grade wool. For both, the predominant contribution was from primary production on-farm (75–90%), followed by industrial processing (2–15%), and transportation. We used multiple regression models to produce maps of lamb and wool CF at farm gate across Santa Cruz province. The model for variation of lamb CF explained 95% of the variance on the data and the most significant predictor variables were temperature seasonality and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI, dimensionless). The most important variables for the model of CF of greasy wool production at farm gate were isothermality, temperature seasonality, and NDVI explained 98%. The lowest CF values of both products (lamb and wool) were located in more productive grasslands. The successful management of livestock GHG emissions becomes an important challenge to the scientific, commercial, and policy communities. The results of CF for lamb and wool production found in the present work assist in characterizing the greenhouse gas emissions profile of livestock products in Southern Patagonia by providing a baseline against which mitigation actions can be planned and progress monitored. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; rangeland; livestock; climate; lamb production; wool production anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; rangeland; livestock; climate; lamb production; wool production
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MDPI and ACS Style

Peri, P.L.; Rosas, Y.M.; Ladd, B.; Díaz-Delgado, R.; Martínez Pastur, G. Carbon Footprint of Lamb and Wool Production at Farm Gate and the Regional Scale in Southern Patagonia. Sustainability 2020, 12, 3077.

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