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Integrating agri-environmental indicators, ecosystem services assessment, life cycle assessment and yield gap analysis to assess the environmental sustainability of agriculture

Bergez, J.-E.; Béthinger, A.; Bockstaller, C.; Cederberg, C.; Ceschia, E.; Guilpart, N.; Lange, S.; Müller, F.; Reidsma, P.; Riviere, C.; Schader, C.; Therond, O. and van der Werf, H.M.G. (2022) Integrating agri-environmental indicators, ecosystem services assessment, life cycle assessment and yield gap analysis to assess the environmental sustainability of agriculture. Ecological Indicators, 141 (109107), pp. 1-12.

[thumbnail of Bergez-etal-2022-EcologicalIndicators-Vol141-Article109107-p1-12.pdf] PDF - English
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X22005799


Agriculture’s primary function is the production of food, feed, fibre and fuel for the fast-growing world population. However, it also affects human health and ecosystem integrity. Policymakers make policies in order to avoid harmful impacts. How to assess such policies is a challenge. In this paper, we propose a conceptual framework to help evaluate the impacts of agricultural policies on the environment. Our framework represents the global system as four subsystems and their interactions. These four components are the cells of a 2 by 2 matrix [Agriculture, Rest of the word]; [Socio-eco system, Ecological system]. We then developed a set of indicators for environmental issues and positioned these issues in the framework. To assess these issues, we used four well-known existing approaches: Life Cycle Assessment, Ecosystem Services Analysis, Yield Gap Analysis and Agro-Environmental Indicators. Using these four approaches together provided a more holistic view of the impacts of a given policy on the system. We then applied our framework on existing cover crop policies using an extensive literature survey and analysing the different environmental issues mobilised by the four assessment approaches. This demonstration case shows that our framework may be of help for a full systemic assessment. Despite their differences (aims, scales, standardization, data requirements, etc.), it is possible and profitable to use the four approaches together. This is a significant step forward, though more work is needed to produce a genuinely operational tool.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Multi-criteria assessment, Environmental issues, Environmental policies, Conceptual framework, sustainability assessment, Abacus, FiBL35152
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Food systems > Recycling, balancing and resource management
Food systems > Produce chain management
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Sustainability assessment
France > Other organizations
Sweden > Chalmers University of Technology
Related Links:https://www.fibl.org/en/themes/projectdatabase/projectitem/project/1478
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:44655
Deposited On:22 Nov 2022 14:07
Last Modified:22 Nov 2022 14:07
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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