Selection of appropriate calculators for landscape-scale greenhouse gas assessment for agriculture and forestry

This letter is intended to help potential users select the most appropriate calculator for a landscape-scale greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment of activities for agriculture and forestry. Eighteen calculators were assessed. These calculators were designed for different aims and to be used in different geographical areas and they use slightly different accounting methodologies. The classification proposed is based on the main aim of the assessment: raising awareness, reporting, project evaluation or product assessment. When the aims have been clearly formulated, the most suitable calculator can be selected from the comparison tables, taking account of the geographical area and the scope of the calculation as well as the time and skills required for the calculation. The main issues for interpreting GHG assessments are discussed, highlighting the difficulty of comparing the results obtained from different calculators, mainly owing to differences in scope, calculation methods and reporting units. A major problem is the poor accounting for land use change; the calculators are usually able to account satisfactorily for other emission sources. One of the main challenges at landscape-scale level is to produce a realistic assessment of the various production systems as the uncertainty levels are very high. The results should always give some indication of the link between GHG emissions and the productivity of the area, although no single indicator is able to encompass all the services produced by agriculture and forestry (e.g. food, goods, landscape value and revenue).
Journal article

Published on

2013

Author(s)

  • Columb V
  • Touchemoulin O
  • Bockel L
  • Chotte, J.L.
  • Martin S
  • Tinlot M
  • Bernoux, Martial

Citation

Columb V, Touchemoulin O, Bockel L, Chotte JL, Martin S, Tinlot M, Bernoux M. 2013. Selection of appropriate calculators for landscape-scale greenhouse gas assessment for agriculture and forestry. Environmental Research Letters 8:015029.