Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Total Environ. 2014 Feb 15;472:262-72. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.10.099. Epub 2013 Nov 28.

Integrated earth system dynamic modeling for life cycle impact assessment of ecosystem services.

Author information

1
Public Research Centre Henri Tudor/Resource Centre for Environmental Technologies, 6A avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux, L-4362 Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg; Université de Toulouse, INSA, UPS, INP, LISBP, 135 Avenue de Rangueil, F-31077 Toulouse, France; INRA, UMR792, Laboratoire d'Ingénierie des Systèmes Biologiques et des Procédés, F-31400 Toulouse, France; CNRS, UMR5504, F-31400 Toulouse, France.
2
Public Research Centre Henri Tudor/Resource Centre for Environmental Technologies, 6A avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux, L-4362 Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg.
3
Public Research Centre Henri Tudor/Resource Centre for Environmental Technologies, 6A avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux, L-4362 Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. Electronic address: enrico.benetto@tudor.lu.
4
Université de Toulouse, INSA, UPS, INP, LISBP, 135 Avenue de Rangueil, F-31077 Toulouse, France; INRA, UMR792, Laboratoire d'Ingénierie des Systèmes Biologiques et des Procédés, F-31400 Toulouse, France; CNRS, UMR5504, F-31400 Toulouse, France.

Abstract

Despite the increasing awareness of our dependence on Ecosystem Services (ES), Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) does not explicitly and fully assess the damages caused by human activities on ES generation. Recent improvements in LCIA focus on specific cause-effect chains, mainly related to land use changes, leading to Characterization Factors (CFs) at the midpoint assessment level. However, despite the complexity and temporal dynamics of ES, current LCIA approaches consider the environmental mechanisms underneath ES to be independent from each other and devoid of dynamic character, leading to constant CFs whose representativeness is debatable. This paper takes a step forward and is aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of using an integrated earth system dynamic modeling perspective to retrieve time- and scenario-dependent CFs that consider the complex interlinkages between natural processes delivering ES. The GUMBO (Global Unified Metamodel of the Biosphere) model is used to quantify changes in ES production in physical terms - leading to midpoint CFs - and changes in human welfare indicators, which are considered here as endpoint CFs. The interpretation of the obtained results highlights the key methodological challenges to be solved to consider this approach as a robust alternative to the mainstream rationale currently adopted in LCIA. Further research should focus on increasing the granularity of environmental interventions in the modeling tools to match current standards in LCA and on adapting the conceptual approach to a spatially-explicit integrated model.

KEYWORDS:

Dynamic modeling; Ecosystem Services (ES); Global Unified Metamodel of the Biosphere (GUMBO); Integrated modeling; Life Cycle Assessment (LCA); Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA)

PMID:
24291626
DOI:
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.10.099
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center