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Italy: Assessing the life-cycle of one hectare of sweet cherries

Italy is the fourth cherry producer worldwide after Turkey, the USA and Iran. The Puglia region is the leading sweet cherry producer (Prunus avium L.) on a national level with 17,800 hectares producing almost 40,800 tons, mainly of the Ferrovia cultivar. 

Economists from the University of Foggia analysed inputs to assess the life-cycle approach (LCA) of an hectare of sweet cherries in Puglia. "We collected and analysed the inputs (i.e. technical means and energy costs) associated with cherry production. Primary data were collected directly by producers while secondary data were taken from the Ecoinvent database."

The study aims at being a starting base for the next phases of the life-cycle and to assess the orchard's environmental impact. It enabled its authors to prove how the main factors affecting LCA are irrigation and diesel fuel used to distribute fertilisers and pesticides.

Total consumption in the life-cycle (estimated at 20 years) of one hectare of cherries that, between its 4th and 20th year, produced 227 tons/hectare of cherries and 190/hectare of firewood.

According to the authors, the study can be considered as the start for a further assessment and reduction of the environmental impact of cherry production in Puglia.

Source: Tricase C., Rana R., Andriano A.M., Ingrao C., 'An input flow analysis for improved environmental sustainability and management of cherry orchards: A case study in the Apulia region', 2017, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 156, pag. 766-774.

Publication date: 6/19/2017


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