Critical Zone services as environmental assessment criteria in intensively managed landscapes

Meredith Richardson, Praveen Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Critical Zone (CZ) includes the biophysical processes occurring from the top of the vegetation canopy to the weathering zone below the groundwater table. CZ services provide a measure for the goods and benefits derived from CZ processes. In intensively managed landscapes, cropland is altered through anthropogenic energy inputs to derive more productivity, as agricultural products, than would be possible under natural conditions. However, the actual costs of alterations to CZ functions within landscape profiles are unknown. Through comparisons of corn feed and corn-based ethanol, we show that valuation of these CZ services in monetary terms provides a more concrete tool for characterizing seemingly abstract environmental damages from agricultural production systems. Multiple models are combined to simulate the movement of nutrients throughout the soil system, enabling the measurement of agricultural anthropogenic impacts to the CZ's regulating services. Results indicate water quality and atmospheric stabilizing services, measured by soil carbon storage, carbon respiration, and nitrate leaching, among others, can cost more than double that of emissions estimated in previous studies. Energy efficiency in addition to environmental impact is assessed to demonstrate how the inclusion of CZ services is necessary in accounting for the entire life cycle of agricultural production systems. These results conclude that feed production systems are more energy efficient and less environmentally costly than corn-based ethanol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-632
Number of pages16
JournalEarth's Future
Volume5
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

Fingerprint

production system
maize
agricultural production
ethanol
cost
energy
environmental assessment
soil carbon
valuation
energy efficiency
carbon sequestration
respiration
environmental impact
life cycle
weathering
leaching
canopy
nitrate
water quality
productivity

Keywords

  • bioenergy
  • corn
  • critical zone
  • critical zone services
  • ethanol
  • intensively manages landscapes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Critical Zone services as environmental assessment criteria in intensively managed landscapes. / Richardson, Meredith; Kumar, Praveen.

In: Earth's Future, Vol. 5, No. 6, 01.06.2017, p. 617-632.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Richardson, Meredith; Kumar, Praveen / Critical Zone services as environmental assessment criteria in intensively managed landscapes.

In: Earth's Future, Vol. 5, No. 6, 01.06.2017, p. 617-632.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{cc672debef8e4897a97a2f98d9052073,
title = "Critical Zone services as environmental assessment criteria in intensively managed landscapes",
abstract = "The Critical Zone (CZ) includes the biophysical processes occurring from the top of the vegetation canopy to the weathering zone below the groundwater table. CZ services provide a measure for the goods and benefits derived from CZ processes. In intensively managed landscapes, cropland is altered through anthropogenic energy inputs to derive more productivity, as agricultural products, than would be possible under natural conditions. However, the actual costs of alterations to CZ functions within landscape profiles are unknown. Through comparisons of corn feed and corn-based ethanol, we show that valuation of these CZ services in monetary terms provides a more concrete tool for characterizing seemingly abstract environmental damages from agricultural production systems. Multiple models are combined to simulate the movement of nutrients throughout the soil system, enabling the measurement of agricultural anthropogenic impacts to the CZ's regulating services. Results indicate water quality and atmospheric stabilizing services, measured by soil carbon storage, carbon respiration, and nitrate leaching, among others, can cost more than double that of emissions estimated in previous studies. Energy efficiency in addition to environmental impact is assessed to demonstrate how the inclusion of CZ services is necessary in accounting for the entire life cycle of agricultural production systems. These results conclude that feed production systems are more energy efficient and less environmentally costly than corn-based ethanol.",
keywords = "bioenergy, corn, critical zone, critical zone services, ethanol, intensively manages landscapes",
author = "Meredith Richardson and Praveen Kumar",
year = "2017",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1002/2016EF000517",
volume = "5",
pages = "617--632",
journal = "Earth's Future",
issn = "2328-4277",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Critical Zone services as environmental assessment criteria in intensively managed landscapes

AU - Richardson,Meredith

AU - Kumar,Praveen

PY - 2017/6/1

Y1 - 2017/6/1

N2 - The Critical Zone (CZ) includes the biophysical processes occurring from the top of the vegetation canopy to the weathering zone below the groundwater table. CZ services provide a measure for the goods and benefits derived from CZ processes. In intensively managed landscapes, cropland is altered through anthropogenic energy inputs to derive more productivity, as agricultural products, than would be possible under natural conditions. However, the actual costs of alterations to CZ functions within landscape profiles are unknown. Through comparisons of corn feed and corn-based ethanol, we show that valuation of these CZ services in monetary terms provides a more concrete tool for characterizing seemingly abstract environmental damages from agricultural production systems. Multiple models are combined to simulate the movement of nutrients throughout the soil system, enabling the measurement of agricultural anthropogenic impacts to the CZ's regulating services. Results indicate water quality and atmospheric stabilizing services, measured by soil carbon storage, carbon respiration, and nitrate leaching, among others, can cost more than double that of emissions estimated in previous studies. Energy efficiency in addition to environmental impact is assessed to demonstrate how the inclusion of CZ services is necessary in accounting for the entire life cycle of agricultural production systems. These results conclude that feed production systems are more energy efficient and less environmentally costly than corn-based ethanol.

AB - The Critical Zone (CZ) includes the biophysical processes occurring from the top of the vegetation canopy to the weathering zone below the groundwater table. CZ services provide a measure for the goods and benefits derived from CZ processes. In intensively managed landscapes, cropland is altered through anthropogenic energy inputs to derive more productivity, as agricultural products, than would be possible under natural conditions. However, the actual costs of alterations to CZ functions within landscape profiles are unknown. Through comparisons of corn feed and corn-based ethanol, we show that valuation of these CZ services in monetary terms provides a more concrete tool for characterizing seemingly abstract environmental damages from agricultural production systems. Multiple models are combined to simulate the movement of nutrients throughout the soil system, enabling the measurement of agricultural anthropogenic impacts to the CZ's regulating services. Results indicate water quality and atmospheric stabilizing services, measured by soil carbon storage, carbon respiration, and nitrate leaching, among others, can cost more than double that of emissions estimated in previous studies. Energy efficiency in addition to environmental impact is assessed to demonstrate how the inclusion of CZ services is necessary in accounting for the entire life cycle of agricultural production systems. These results conclude that feed production systems are more energy efficient and less environmentally costly than corn-based ethanol.

KW - bioenergy

KW - corn

KW - critical zone

KW - critical zone services

KW - ethanol

KW - intensively manages landscapes

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85021137141&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85021137141&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/2016EF000517

DO - 10.1002/2016EF000517

M3 - Article

VL - 5

SP - 617

EP - 632

JO - Earth's Future

T2 - Earth's Future

JF - Earth's Future

SN - 2328-4277

IS - 6

ER -