Rural Development Programme measures on cultivated land in Europe to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions – regional ‘hotspots’ and priority measures

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Abstract

Agriculture is a significant source of GHG emissions, contributing 10% of total emissions within the EU-28. Emissions from European agriculture have been reduced, albeit at the expense of crop yield and the risk of production displacement (the transfer of production, and associated emissions, to land outside of Europe). This article assesses the impact on GHG emissions of selected European Rural Development Program measures, representative of a diversity of management strategies implemented on cultivated land, within nine European Member States. Climatic zone and underlying spatial environmental variables were accounted for using a novel technique, “Regional Variation Categories,” developed with European-scale GIS data sets. Production displacement is assessed with two benchmarks: (1) compared with existing crop production and (2) relative to a “minimum requirement” land management scenario, where an emissions reduction of less than this does not constitute mitigation. Most measures reduce emissions relative to the baseline crop scenario; however, many do not reduce emissions beyond the “minimum requirement,” this being limited to measures such as catch crops and within-field grass areas to prevent soil erosion. The selection and targeting of measures to maximize agricultural GHG mitigation on cultivated land within Europe is discussed...
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-219
JournalCarbon Management
Volume7
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2016

Keywords

  • agri-environment scheme
  • agriculture
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • crop management

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