Trade-Offs between Economic and Environmental Impacts of Introducing Legumes into Cropping Systems

Show full item record



Reckling , M , Bergkvist , G , Watson , C A , Stoddard , F L , Zander , P M , Walker , R L , Pristeri , A , Toncea , I & Bachinger , J 2016 , ' Trade-Offs between Economic and Environmental Impacts of Introducing Legumes into Cropping Systems ' , Frontiers in plant science , vol. 7 , 669 .

Title: Trade-Offs between Economic and Environmental Impacts of Introducing Legumes into Cropping Systems
Author: Reckling, Moritz; Bergkvist, Göran; Watson, Christine A.; Stoddard, Frederick L.; Zander, Peter M.; Walker, Robin L.; Pristeri, Aurelio; Toncea, Ion; Bachinger, Johann
Contributor organization: Department of Food and Nutrition
Department of Agricultural Sciences
Viikki Plant Science Centre (ViPS)
Legume science
Plant Production Sciences
Crop Science Research Group
Date: 2016-05-23
Language: eng
Number of pages: 15
Belongs to series: Frontiers in plant science
ISSN: 1664-462X
Abstract: Europe's agriculture is highly specialized, dependent on external inputs and responsible for negative environmental impacts. Legume crops are grown on less than 2% of the arable land and more than 70% of the demand for protein feed supplement is imported from overseas. The integration of legumes into cropping systems has the potential to contribute to the transition to a more resource-efficient agriculture and reduce the current protein deficit. Legume crops influence the production of other crops in the rotation making it difficult to evaluate the overall agronomic effects of legumes in cropping systems. A novel assessment framework was developed and applied in five case study regions across Europe with the objective of evaluating trade-offs between economic and environmental effects of integrating legumes into cropping systems. Legumes resulted in positive and negative impacts when integrated into various cropping systems across the case studies. On average, cropping systems with legumes reduced nitrous oxide emissions by 18 and 33% and N fertilizer use by 24 and 38% in arable and forage systems, respectively, compared to systems without legumes. Nitrate leaching was similar with and without legumes in arable systems and reduced by 22% in forage systems. However, grain legumes reduced gross margins in 3 of 5 regions. Forage legumes increased gross margins in 3 of 3 regions. Among the cropping systems with legumes, systems could be identified that had both relatively high economic returns and positive environmental impacts. Thus, increasing the cultivation of legumes could lead to economic competitive cropping systems and positive environmental impacts, but achieving this aim requires the development of novel management strategies informed by the involvement of advisors and farmers.
Subject: crop rotation
land use and impacts
multi-criteria assessment
protein crops
rotation generator
1172 Environmental sciences
1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

Files in this item

Total number of downloads: Loading...

Files Size Format View
fpls_2016_00669.pdf 2.781Mb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record