Feasibility of mitigation measures for agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. A systematic review

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Jebari, A., Pereyra, F., Kumar, A., Collins, A. L., Rivero, M. J. and Mcauliffe, G. 2024. Feasibility of mitigation measures for agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. A systematic review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development - ASD. 44 (2). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-023-00938-0

AuthorsJebari, A., Pereyra, F., Kumar, A., Collins, A. L., Rivero, M. J. and Mcauliffe, G.

The UK Government has set an ambitious target of achieving a national “net-zero” greenhouse gas economy by 2050. Agriculture is arguably placed at the heart of achieving net zero, as it plays a unique role as both a producer of GHG emissions and a sector that has the capacity via land use to capture carbon (C) when managed appropriately, thus reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Agriculture’s importance, particularly in a UK-specific perspective, which is also applicable to many other temperate climate nations globally, is that the majority of land use nationwide is allocated to farming. Here, we present a systematic review based on peer-reviewed literature and relevant “grey” reports to address the question “how can the agricultural sector in the UK reduce, or offset, its direct agricultural emissions at the farm level?” We considered the implications of mitigation measures in terms of food security and import reliance, energy, environmental degradation, and value for money. We identified 52 relevant studies covering major foods produced and consumed in the UK. Our findings indicate that many mitigation measures can indeed contribute to net zero through GHG emissions reduction, offsetting, and bioenergy production, pending their uptake by farmers. While the environmental impacts of mitigation measures were covered well within the reviewed literature, corresponding implications regarding energy, food security, and farmer attitudes towards adoption received scant attention. We also provide an open-access, informative, and comprehensive dataset for agri-environment stakeholders and policymakers to identify the most promising mitigation measures. This research is of critical value to researchers, land managers, and policymakers as an interim guideline resource while more quantitative evidence becomes available through the ongoing lab-, field-, and farm-scale trials which will improve the reliability of agricultural sustainability modelling in the future.

KeywordsNet zero ; Carbon footprint ; Farming interventions; Arable farming ; Livestock systems ; Mixed farming
Year of Publication2024
JournalAgronomy for Sustainable Development - ASD
Journal citation44 (2)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-023-00938-0
Web address (URL)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13593-023-00938-0#article-info
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Funder project or codeSICA - Science Initiative Catalyst Award
Beca de movilidad ANII (Agencia Nacional de Investigacion e Innovacion)
S2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 2 (WP2) - Adaptive management systems for improved efficiency and nutritional quality
S2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online28 Dec 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted24 Nov 2023
PublisherSpringer France

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