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Towards a method for the economic evaluation of environmental indicators in UK Integrated Arable Farming Systems

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Bailey, A., Rehman, T. U., Park, J., Keatinge, J.D.H. and Tranter, R. (1999) Towards a method for the economic evaluation of environmental indicators in UK Integrated Arable Farming Systems. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 72 (2). pp. 145-158. ISSN 0167-8809

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/S0167-8809(98)00171-6

Abstract/Summary

Integrated Arable Farming Systems (IAFS), which involve a reduction in the use of off-farm inputs, are attracting considerable research interest in the UK. The objectives of these systems experiments are to compare their financial performance with that from conventional or current farming practices. To date, this comparison has taken little account of any environmental benefits (or disbenefits) of the two systems. The objective of this paper is to review the assessment methodologies available for the analysis of environmental impacts. To illustrate the results of this exercise, the methodology and environmental indicators chosen are then applied to data from one of the LINK - Integrated Farming Systems experimental sites. Data from the Pathhead site in Southern Scotland are used to evaluate the use of invertebrates and nitrate loss as environmental indicators within IAFS. The results suggest that between 1992 and 1995 the biomass of earthworms fell by 28 kg per hectare on the integrated rotation and rose by 31 kg per hectare on the conventional system. This led to environmental costs ranging between £2.24 and £13.44 per hectare for the integrated system and gains of between £2.48 and £14.88 for the conventional system. In terms of nitrate, the integrated system had an estimated loss of £72.21 per hectare in comparison to £149.40 per hectare on the conventional system. Conclusions are drawn about the advantages and disadvantages of this type of analytical framework. Keywords: Farming systems; IAFS; Environmental valuation; Economics; Earthworms; Nitrates; Soil fauna

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:25395
Uncontrolled Keywords:Farming systems; IAFS; Environmental valuation; Economics; Earthworms; Nitrates; Soil fauna
Publisher:Elsevier

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