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Resource Efficiency in Practice – Closing Mineral Cycles

Resource Efficiency in Practice – Closing Mineral Cycles

Final Report

The issue of closing mineral cycles was analyzed in eight European regions and the results are presented in the report "Resource Efficiency in Practice – Closing Mineral Cycles". The authors of BIO IS, Ecologic Institute, AMEC, Danish Technical University, University of Milano and LEI, identified measures that support the closing of mineral cycles within the study regions. For each region, practical and strategic options to reduce the nutrient surplus further were derived. The report is available for download.

Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are essential for agricultural production as they nourish the crops and support soil productivity. However, if these nutrients are not taken up by plants, they run the risk of being lost in various ways (e.g. leaching, run-off, emissions). This results in heightened costs for the farming business, since the lost nutrients no longer enrich productivity. But also society needs to cope with additional costs to manage with nutrient surplus related environmental issues of eutrophication of waters and acidification of soils.

In particular regions characterised by intense animal husbandry or fertiliser-intense arable farming are are prone to nutrient surplus in soils. Nutrient surpluses violate against several EU policies such as the Nitrates Directive and the Water Framework Directive, but also persist as extra costs for the individual farmer. The most cost-efficient methods nutrient management needs to complement the agricultural system in place. Nutrient losses may be reduced while production remains cost-effective in cases where crop requirements, soil and weather conditions are well attuned. Thus, not only nutrient management is economized, but other costs such as fuel for a tractor, fertilizer-spreading equipment, labour costs etc. may be reduced or avoided entirely when fields are less frequently fertilised. A longstanding increased nutrient supply can furthermore result in a multiplication of costs, e.g. to avoid soil acidification liming need to be applied. Avoiding nutrient surplus and the linked consequences may thus positively affect agricultural production, as crop yields remain steady while soils remain healthy and fertile.

The management measures derived in the project are presented in a practice-oriented manner in eight region-specific leaflets that are also available in the respective language and can be downloaded here. 


Citation

Sarteel, Marion et. al. 2016: Resource efficiency in practice – Closing Mineral Cycle. Revised final report.

Language
English
Author(s)
Marion Sarteel (BIO by Deloitte)
Clement Tostivint (BIO by Deloitte)
Alice Landowski (BIO by Deloitte)
Claire Basset (BIO by Deloitte)
Kurt Muehmel (BIO by Deloitte)
Sarah Lockwood (BIO by Deloitte)
Helen Ding (BIO by Deloitte)
Noellie Oudet (BIO by Deloitte)
Shailendra Mudgal (BIO by Deloitte)
Victoria Cherrier (AMEC)
Ben Grebot (AMEC)
Mette S. Carter (DTU)
Per Ambus (DTU)
Giorgio Provolo (Milan University)
Tanja de Koeijer (LEI)
Vincent Linderhof (LEI)
Rolf Michels (LEI)
Funding
Year
2016
Dimension
418 pp.
Project ID
2529
Table of Contents

Content
List of tables
List of figures
List of boxes
Glossary
1. Introduction
1.1 Context
1.2 Objectives
2. Effects of agriculture on nutrient cycles
2.1 Transformation and transfer of nutrients in the different environmental compartments (soil, water, air, biota)
2.1.1 Nutrient cycles in natural ecosystems
2.1.2 Main drivers having an effect on nutrient cycles
2.1.3 Interaction between cycles
2.2 Effects of agriculture on nutrient transformations and transfers
2.2.1 Role of livestock production
2.2.2 Role of crop production (crops and grass-crops)
2.3 Potential impacts of nutrient losses on water, air, soil, biodiversity, climate and human health
2.3.1 Impacts on climate
2.3.2 Impacts on air
2.3.3 Impacts on water
2.3.4 Impacts on soil
2.3.5 Impacts on biodiversity
2.3.6 Impacts on human health
2.3.7 Synthesis of the impacts (environmental consequences of nutrient excess)
3. Solutions to reduce the impacts of nutrient losses
3.1 Review of possible solutions
3.2 Solutions for livestock production
3.2.1 Reducing the sources of contamination
3.2.2 Improving nutrient efficiency
3.2.3 Controlling the contamination pathways
3.3 Solutions for crop production
3.3.1 Reducing the sources of contamination
3.3.2 Improving nutrient efficiency
3.3.3 Controlling the contamination pathways
3.4 Focus on manure transfer
3.4.1 Principles of manure transfer
3.4.2 Regulatory framework
3.4.3 Market for manure and economic opportunities for farmers through manure processing
3.4.4 Transportation of manure
3.4.5 Organic matter balance
3.4.6 Animal health aspects
4. Identification of nutrient saturated and nutrient scarce areas
4.1 Nutrient budget in agriculture
4.1.1 Defining nutrient budget
4.1.2 Mapping nutrient budgets
4.2 Nutrient saturated regions in EU-28
4.2.1 Analysis of the available maps of nutrient budgets
4.2.2 Analysis of the applicability of map results for 2000-2005 to the current period
4.2.3 Analysis of the pollution risk
4.2.4 Complementary criteria used to select saturated regions
4.2.5 Summary of selected nutrient saturated regions
4.3 Nutrient scarce regions in EU-28
4.3.1 Analysis of the available maps on nutrient budget
4.3.2 Analysing nutrient scarcity
5. Case studies
5.1 Brittany (FR)
5.1.1 Notable impacts of nutrient surplus
5.1.2 Causes of nutrient losses
5.1.3 Costs of the environmental and health effects
5.1.4 Good practices to reduce nutrient losses at farm level
5.2 Central Denmark (DK)
5.2.1 Notable impacts of nutrient surplus
5.2.2 Causes of nutrient losse
5.2.3 Costs of environmental and health effects
5.2.4 Good practices to reduce nutrient losses at farm level
5.3 Lombardy (IT)
5.3.1 Notable impacts of nutrient surplus
5.3.2 Causes of nutrient losses
5.3.3 Costs of the environmental and health effects
5.3.4 Good practices to reduce nutrient losses at farm level
5.4 Murcia (ES)
5.4.1 Notable impacts of nutrient surplus
5.4.2 Causes of nutrient losses
5.4.3 Costs of the environmental and health effects
5.4.4 Good practices to reduce nutrient losses at farm level
5.5 North-Brabant (NL)
5.5.1 Notable impacts of nutrient surplus
5.5.2 Causes of nutrient losses
5.5.3 Costs of the environmental and heath effects
5.5.4 Good practices to reduce nutrient losses at fa rm level
5.6 Southern and Eastern Ireland (IE)
5.6.1 Notable impacts of nutrient surplus
5.6.2 Causes of nutrient losses
5.6.3 Costs of the environmental and health effects
5.6.4 Good practices to reduce the nutrient losses at farm level
5.7 Weser-Ems (DE)
5.7.1 Notable impacts of nutrient surplus
5.7.2 Causes of nutrient losses
5.7.3 Costs of the environmental and health effects
5.7.4 Good practices to reduce nutrient losses at farm level
5.8 Wielkopolskie (PL)
5.8.1 Notable impacts of nutrient surplus
5.8.2 Causes of nutrient losses
5.8.3 Costs of the environmental and health effects
5.8.4 Good practices to reduce nutrient losses at farm level
6. Conclusion
References

Keywords
Resource efficiency, soil management, nutrient cycle, fertilisation, manure management, adaptation, farm-level measures, saturated areas, EU, West Denmark, Southern Netherlands, Murcia, Spain, Lombardy, Italy, Brittany, France, Greater Poland, Wielkopolska, Poland, Northwest Germany, Southeast Ireland, Europe