Natural Resources, School of
Could energy equilibrium and greenhouse gas emissions in agroecosystems play a key role in crop replacement? A case study in orange and kiwi orchards
Date of this Version
Published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research 28 (2021), pp 29421–29431.
The development of agriculture is linked to energy resources. Consequently, energy analysis in agroecosystems could be a useful tool for monitoring some measures in the agricultural sector to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The objectives of this study were to (a) evaluate differences of energy indices in orange and kiwi orchards, and (b) point out whether inputs, outputs, efficiency, productivity, and carbon footprint can play a key role in crop replacement. Proportional stratified random sampling was used to select 26 orchards (10 oranges, 16 kiwis) from the Prefecture of Arta, western Greece, during 2015 and 2016. Univariate statistical methods were combined with multivariate ones. Nitrogen, Mg, Zn, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, renewable energy inputs, fruit production, total outputs, and energy efficiency and productivity were statistically significantly high in the orange orchards. Phosphorus, Ca, irrigation, machinery, total inputs, intensity, non-renewable energy consumption, and carbon footprint were statistically significantly high in the kiwi orchards. The most important energy inputs for both fruit crops were fertilizers, fuels, irrigation, machinery, and herbicides. The orange orchards seem to be more friendly to the environment than the kiwi orchards by having low total energy inputs 32,210.3 MJ ha−1, intensity 1.4, consumption of non-renewable energy 0.7 MJ kg−1 and CO2 equivalent/fruit production 0.08 kg kg−1, and high energy outputs 105,120.0 MJ ha−1 and fruit production 53,648.0 kg ha−1. The findings of the present study show a relation between climate change and the production of farming systems, which can be a tool for decision makers. The correlation of the above-mentioned parameters ensure higher profits and could help in achieving the best possible sustainable management of the agricultural ecosystems.
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