Vagnoni, Enrico (2017) Environmental implications of dairy sheep supply chain and evaluation of climate change mitigation actions for Sardinian sheep farming systems. Doctoral Thesis.
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The contribution of small ruminant sector to overall livestock GHG emissions is quite significant and the optimization of environmental performances by the way of eco-innovation is considered a valid strategy to improve the competitiveness of Mediterranean dairy sheep systems. Despite their significant role in environmental and socio-economic terms, little research has been conducted on the environmental implications of dairy sheep production systems.
In this context, the main aim of this thesis was to contribute to the environmental profile characterization of the Sardinian dairy sheep supply chain, in order to evaluate climate change mitigation actions for Sardinian sheep farming systems.
Three studies were conducted using a LCA approach, with the following specific goals: i) comparing the environmental implications of contrasting dairy sheep systems and ii) identifying the hotspots to minimizing the ecological impacts of the Sardinian dairy sheep sector. In line with several LCA studies on dairy sector, the farm activities played the most relevant role in the overall environmental performances. Enteric methane emissions, feed supply chain, electricity and equipment seem to be the hotspots where the environmental performances can be improved.
Future research will be dedicated to explore in detail the relationship between sheep breed, diet composition and enteric methane emissions and to properly assess the ecosystems services of pasture-based farming systems.
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