Articles | Volume 5, issue 1
Biogeosciences, 5, 73–94, 2008

Special issue: Greenhouse gases in the Northern Hemisphere

Biogeosciences, 5, 73–94, 2008

  28 Jan 2008

28 Jan 2008

Linking an economic model for European agriculture with a mechanistic model to estimate nitrogen and carbon losses from arable soils in Europe

A. Leip1, G. Marchi1, R. Koeble1,*, M. Kempen2, W. Britz1,2, and C. Li3 A. Leip et al.
  • 1European Commission – DG Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra, Italy
  • 2University of Bonn, Institute for Food and Resource Economics, Bonn, Germany
  • 3Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
  • *now at: Institute of Energy Economics and the Rational Use of Energy, Department of Technology Assessment and Environment, Stuttgart, Germany

Abstract. A comprehensive assessment of policy impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural soils requires careful consideration of both socio-economic aspects and the environmental heterogeneity of the landscape. We developed a modelling framework that links the large-scale economic model for agriculture CAPRI (Common Agricultural Policy Regional Impact assessment) with the biogeochemistry model DNDC (DeNitrification DeComposition) to simulate GHG fluxes, carbon stock changes and the nitrogen budget of agricultural soils in Europe. The framework allows the ex-ante simulation of agricultural or agri-environmental policy impacts on a wide range of environmental problems such as climate change (GHG emissions), air pollution and groundwater pollution. Those environmental impacts can be analyzed in the context of economic and social indicators as calculated by the economic model. The methodology consists of four steps: (i) definition of appropriate calculation units that can be considered as homogeneous in terms of economic behaviour and environmental response; (ii) downscaling of regional agricultural statistics and farm management information from a CAPRI simulation run into the spatial calculation units; (iii) designing environmental model scenarios and model runs; and finally (iv) aggregating results for interpretation. We show the first results of the nitrogen budget in croplands in fourteen countries of the European Union and discuss possibilities to improve the detailed assessment of nitrogen and carbon fluxes from European arable soils.

Final-revised paper