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Gerhard Brankatschk provides solutions for methodological limitations of agricultural Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs). The author solves challenges of attributing multifunctionality (co-products) and temporal system boundaries (crop rotations) of agricultural systems by establishing two new Life Cycle Inventory methodologies, which conform to ISO-standards on LCA. The new methods help to assess temporal, spatial, and multifunctional complexity of agricultural systems and to improve the reliability of life cycle based sustainability assessments of agriculture.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Sustainable development is a multidimensional process and global challenge for humankind. One of the key challenges during global development process is maintaining environment in conditions that allow prosperous life for future human generations. As the state of the environment – air, water, soil, organisms – brings decisive prerequisites to the quality of human life, it is rational to preserve environmental conditions.

Gerhard Brankatschk

Chapter 2. Results

This cumulative thesis essentially consists of research articles* and related supplementary documents. Therefore, the results section of this work consists of five sub-sections, containing research articles, supplementary data or supplementary material. New methods are being elaborated and explained within sections 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 Applicability of the new methods is tested within sections 2.4 and 2.5.

Gerhard Brankatschk

Chapter 3. Discussion

Life cycle assessment (LCA) serves to identify environmentally sound options for production processes and for provision of services. In this context, LCA is used as decision-making tool. For the special case of agricultural production processes, several limitations in current LCA modeling practice were identified.

Gerhard Brankatschk

Chapter 4. Conclusions

Within this work relevant challenges of agricultural LCAs were described, research questions formulated and ten research targets defined. These research targets were processed in a method-oriented part and an application-oriented part. Within the method-oriented part, two new life cycle inventory methods have been proposed.

Gerhard Brankatschk

Chapter 5. Prospects

Additional effort is required to further develop the methodology of agricultural LCA and to advance what has been achieved within this work.

Gerhard Brankatschk

Chapter 6. International Initiatives on Global Challenges for Agriculture

Whilst previous chapters are focusing at detailed methodological questions of LCA – and thus provide small mosaic pieces –, this chapter is meant to give an impression of the whole mosaic. This chapter provides a broad overview of global challenges for agriculture, derived from the sustainability development goals (SDG) of the United Nations. Furthermore, it contains an overview of international initiatives towards sustainable agriculture and the origin of the term sustainability.

Gerhard Brankatschk

Backmatter

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