Comparison of Three Production Scenarios for Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Green Beauty’ Marketed in a No. 3 Container on the West Coast Using Life Cycle Assessment

in HortScience

Three scenarios for production of Buxus microphylla var. japonica [(Mull. Arg.) Rehder & E.H. Wilson] ‘Green Beauty’ marketed in a no. 3 container on the west coast of the United States were modeled based on grower interviews and best management practices. Life cycle inventories (LCIs) of input products, equipment use, and labor were developed from the protocols for those scenarios and a life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted to determine impact of individual components on the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and the subsequent carbon footprint (CF) of the product at the nursery gate and in the landscape. CF is expressed in global warming potential (GWP) for a 100-year period in units of kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents (kg CO2e). The GWP of the plant from Scenario A (propagation to no. 1 to 3 container) was 2.198 kg CO2e with variable costs of $4.043. Scenario B (propagation to field to no. 3 container) would result in a GWP of 1.717 kg CO2e with variable costs of $2.880 and take a year longer in production than the other two models. The GWP of Scenario C (propagation to no. 1 to no. 2 to no. 3 containers) would be 3.364 kg CO2e with variable costs of $5.733. Containers, transplants/transplanting, irrigation, and fertilization input products and associated activities accounted for the greatest portion of GHG and variable costs in each scenario. Pruning, assembling/load trucks, pesticides, and chlorination were other important components to variable costs of each scenario but had little impact on GWP. Otherwise, the major contributors to GWP are also major contributors to cost.

Contributor Notes

This material is based on work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Specialty Crop Research Initiative, under award number 2014-51181-22372.

Corresponding author. E-mail: dingram@uky.edu.

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    System scenarios for production of Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Green Beauty’ to be marketed in a no. 3 container on the U.S. west coast.

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    Global warming potential of component input materials and equipment use for production Scenarios A, B, and C for Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Green Beauty’ to be grown and marketed in a no. 3 container on the U.S. west coast.

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    Variable costs of component input materials and equipment use for production Scenarios A, B, and C for Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Green Beauty’ to be grown and marketed in a no. 3 container on the U.S. west coast.

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