A rapid method for assessing the environmental performance of commercial farms in the pampas of Argentina

Authors
Viglizzo, Ernesto Francisco; Frank, Federico Carlos; Bernardos, Jaime; Buschiazzo, Daniel Eduardo; Cabo, S.
Publication Year
2006
Language
English
Format
article
Status
Published version
Description
The generation of reliable updated information is critical to support the harmonization of socio-economic and environmental issues in a context of sustainable development. The agro-environmental assessment and management of agricultural systems often relies on indicators that are necessary to make sound decisions. This work aims to provide an approach to (a) assess the environmental performance of commercial farms in the Pampas of Argentina, and (b) propose a methodological framework to calculate environmental indicators that can rapidly be applied to practical farming. 120 commercial farms scattered across the Pampas were analyzed in this study during 2002 and 2003. Eleven basic indicators were identified and calculation methods described. Such indicators were fossil energy (FE) use, FE use efficiency, nitrogen (N) balance, phosphorus (P) balance, N contamination risk, P contamination risk, pesticide contamination risk, soil erosion risk, habitat intervention, changes in soil carbon stock, and balance of greenhouse gases. A model named Agro-Eco-Index was developed on a Microsoft-Excel support to incorporate on-farm collected data and facilitate the calculation of indicators by users. Different procedures were applied to validate the model and present the results to the users. Regression models (based on linear and non-linear models) were used to validate the comparative performance of the study farms across the Pampas. An environmental dashboard was provided to represent in a graphical way the behavior of farms. The method provides a tool to discriminate environmentally friendly farms from those that do not pay enough attention to environmental issues. Our procedure might be useful for implementing an ecological certification system to reward a good environmental behavior in society (e.g., through tax benefits) and generate a commercial advantage (e.g., through the allocation of green labels) for committed farmers.
Fil: Viglizzo, Ernesto Francisco. Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial. Centro Regional La Pampa; Argentina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra y Ambientales de La Pampa. Universidad Nacional de La Pampa. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra y Ambientales de La Pampa; Argentina
Fil: Frank, Federico Carlos. Universidad Nacional de La Pampa. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales; Argentina. Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial. Centro Regional La Pampa; Argentina
Fil: Bernardos, Jaime. Universidad Nacional de La Pampa. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales; Argentina
Fil: Buschiazzo, Daniel Eduardo. Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria. Centro Regional La Pampa-San Luis; Argentina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra y Ambientales de La Pampa. Universidad Nacional de La Pampa. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra y Ambientales de La Pampa; Argentina
Fil: Cabo, S.. Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial. Centro Regional La Pampa; Argentina
Subject
ARGENTINE PAMPAS
COMMERCIAL FARMS
ECOLOGICAL CERTIFICATION
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
SUSTAINABILITY INDICATORS
Meteorología y Ciencias Atmosféricas
Ciencias de la Tierra y relacionadas con el Medio Ambiente
CIENCIAS NATURALES Y EXACTAS
Access level
Restricted access
License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ar/
Repository
CONICET Digital (CONICET)
Institution
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
OAI Identifier
oai:ri.conicet.gov.ar:11336/81746