Solinas, Stefania (2014) Environmental sustainability of bioenergy cropping systems in Sardinia: an analysis based on life cycle assessment and farmers’ perspectives. Doctoral Thesis.
This research aims to assess the environmental impacts derived from a possible development of energy crops in Sardinia. Assessment was supported by qualitative analysis aimed to highlight the stakeholders’ perspectives in understanding environmental effects and in promoting energy crops local development. Perspectives were evaluated through a stakeholders’ involvement approach. We found that environmental impacts are not among the priority motivations that lead farmers to practice these energy crops. Afterwards, some farmers’ profiles were estimated through the Multiple Correspondence Analysis. We found that perspectives on positive environmental effects caused by energy crops are strongly related to positive expectations on their introduction into local cropping systems. Finally, we focused attention on assessing the environmental sustainability associated to substitution of some traditional crops with energy crops in Sardinia. The Life Cycle Assessment methodology was used in order to assess these environmental impacts, through a “cradle to farm gate” approach. Findings suggest that replacement of traditional crops with energy crops might produce controversial benefits in terms of environmental sustainability variation. Introduction of rapeseed into cereal cropping systems should show positive effects on environmental farming sustainability, whereas use of maize and artichoke for energy purpose might determine null or negative environmental outcomes, respectively.
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