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Environmental impacts of imported and locally-grown fruits for the French market: A cradle-to-farm-gate LCA study

Basset-Mens C., Vanniere H., Grasselly D., Heitz H., Braun A., Payen S., Koch P., Biard Y.. 2016. Fruits, 71 (2) : p. 93-104.

DOI: 10.1051/fruits/2015050

Introduction. Fruits are under growing scrutiny regarding their environmental impacts. However, fruit cropping systems have seldom been studied using life cycle assessment (LCA). As part of the Agribalyse® project, the cropping systems for apple and peach in France, clementine in Morocco, and mango in Brazil were evaluated with a cradle-to-farm-gate LCA in order to include the manufacturing, transportation and utilization of all inputs used on the farm. Materials and methods. Representative systems for each fruit were designed, relying mostly on expert knowledge for apple, peach and clementine, and on a detailed survey of eight commercial orchards for mango from the Rio San Francisco Valley in Brazil. Potential environmental impacts were calculated using the ReCiPe Midpoint (H) method. Results and discussion. For most impact categories, apple showed the least impacts, followed by mango, peach and clementine. For marine eutrophication, mango and small citrus had the least impact, followed by apple and peach far above. For ecotoxicity, mango had the least impact followed by apple, peach and clementine far above. For each fruit cropping system, margins of improvement were identified and associated with agronomic recommendations. Generally speaking, the key aspects driving the eco-efficiency of fruit cropping systems at the farm gate were the yield, the fertilizer rates, the use of toxic substances for pest management, the water requirement associated with its local availability and the energy source for irrigation. The ecotoxicity results revealed were uncertain due to the difficulty of determining representative crop protection practices for perennial crops. Conclusion. The Agribalyse® program represented an important step forward for the environmental assessment of fruits. Complementary research is needed to design better crop protection practices, field emissions and water-use impacts.

Mots-clés : malus pumila; prunus persica; mangifera indica; citrus; impact sur l'environnement; Évaluation de l'impact; analyse du cycle de vie; culture fruitière; citrus clementina; brésil; france; maroc

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