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Title:Life cycle environmental sustainability assessment of woody polyculture
Author(s):Kapanzhi, Diana
Advisor(s):Guest, Jeremy
Department / Program:Civil & Environmental Eng
Discipline:Environ Engr in Civil Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Life Cycle Assessment
perennial agriculture
multifunctional woody polyculture
Chinese chestnut
sustainable agriculture
Abstract:Agricultural runoff is the leading contributor to pollution of surface water, causing algal broom and dead zones. A woody polyculture cropping system has several advantages over conventional annual agriculture, including carbon storage, minimal chemical and water use, and developed root systems, which are able to prevent soil erosion and minimize nutrient runoff. This study serves as the environmental component of a larger interdisciplinary initiative with the goal of advancing multifunctional woody polyculture. Specifically, the goal of this study was to determine the relative significance of nursery operations to the environmental impacts of a perennial polyculture system consisting of chestnut trees and pasture. To this end, life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to characterize the relative contribution of each stage of the system’s perennial life cycle to the life cycle environmental impacts of the system. It was demonstrated that in comparison to the environmental impacts of transportation, establishment, and production stages of the orchard system, contribution of the nursery stage was insignificant. Further analysis of the nursery stage revealed the components of the nursery that contribute to the environmental impact of the nursery stage the most, which may be helpful in determining significance of the nursery stage in further studies. Significance of the contribution made by transportation from the nursery to the farm is heavily dependent on the distance the rootstock is transported and the fuel use rate during the transport. Contribution made by the production stage was found to be the most significant out of all stages. Volume, economic, and mass allocation methods were evaluated, and it was determined that mass allocation method is the best fit for this system. Using mass allocation method in assigning all environmental impacts to three co-products, it was determined that hay is responsible for contributing more environmental impact than chestnuts or timber in all impact categories, except for in ozone depletion and fossil fuel depletion. In these two impact categories, chestnuts are contributors of a larger portion of environmental impacts than hay or timber. Future studies of this system should include analyses of direct soil emissions to air and water as well as implications of this project's water consumption.
Issue Date:2016-07-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Diana Kapanzhi
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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