Life cycle assessment based evaluation of regional impacts from agricultural production at the Peruvian coast

Karin Bartl, Francesca Verones, Stefanie Hellweg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Crop and technology choices in agriculture, which largely define the impact of agricultural production on the environment, should be considered in agricultural development planning. A life cycle assessment of the dominant crops produced in a Peruvian coastal valley was realized, in order to establish regionalized life cycle inventories for Peruvian products and to provide the basis for a regional evaluation of the impacts of eutrophication, acidification, human toxicity, and biodiversity loss due to water use. Five scenarios for the year 2020 characterized by different crop combinations and irrigation systems were considered as development options. The results of the regional assessment showed that a business-as-usual scenario, extrapolating current trends of crop cultivation, would lead to an increase in nitrate leaching with eutrophying effects. On the other hand, scenarios of increased application of drip irrigation and of mandarin area expansion would lead to a decrease in nitrate leaching. In all scenarios the human toxicity potential would decrease slightly, while an increase in irrigation water use would benefit the biodiversity of a nearby groundwater-fed wetland. Comparisons with results from other studies confirmed the importance of regionalized life cycle inventories. The results can be used as decision support for local farmers and authorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9872-9880
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number18
StatePublished - 18 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


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