Environmental impacts of agriculture use of organic waste, mineral and bio-fertilisers

Focus is on the environmental impacts of mineral and organic fertilizer use and land use changes on losses of nutrients to the aquatic environment (eutrophication), greenhouse gas emissions (global warming) as well as resource consumption (e.g. fossil fuels, depletion of rock phosphate reserves) and the estimation of environmental impacts of different agricultural production systems.

Methodologies include field and lab-based chamber-techniques for measurement of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as advanced mechanistic agroecosystem models for assessing nutrient stocks and emissions, coupled with life cycle assessment in order to compare alternative management strategies.

Life cycle assessments (LCA) are increasingly used for supporting decisions in society and industry. In many situations, environmental impacts of land application of organic waste products turn out to be significant. To span the gap between researchers with knowledge on soil processes and LCA experts, the Soil Fertility group has established unique expertise in the junction between these fields.

The Daisy model has proven instrumental as an advanced tool which can be used to assess environmental emissions associated with a whole range of agricultural management choices. This has led to a number of on-going joint research projects exploring this area.