Publication Details

Water, land and carbon footprints of sheep and chicken meat produced in Tunisia under different farming systems

Meat production puts larger demands on water and land and results in larger greenhouse gas emissions than alternative forms of food. This study uses footprint indicators, the water, land and carbon footprint, to assess natural resources use and greenhouse gas emissions for sheep and chicken meat produced in Tunisia in different farming systems in the period 1996–2005. Tunisia is a water-scarce country with large areas of pasture for sheep production. Poultry production is relatively large and based on imported feed. The farming systems considered are: the industrial system for chicken, and the agro-pastoral system using cereal crop-residues, the agro-pastoral system using barley and the pastoral system using barley for sheep. Chicken meat has a smaller water footprint (6030 litre/kg), land footprint (9 m2/kg) and carbon footprint (3 CO2-eq/kg) than sheep meat (with an average water footprint of 18900 litre/kg, land footprint of 57 m2/kg, and carbon footprint of 28 CO2-eq/kg). For sheep meat, the agro-pastoral system using cereal crop-residues is the production system with smallest water and land footprints, but the highest carbon footprint. The pastoral system using barley has larger water and land footprints than the agro-pastoral system using barley, but comparable carbon footprint.

Author Last NamesIbidhi, Hoekstra, Gerbens-Leenes, Chouchane
Journal NameEcological Indicators
Year of Publication2017
Keywordsenvironmental footprint, water, carbon, sheep and chicken meat, Tunisia

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