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Evaluating the sustainability of feedlot production in Australia using a life cycle sustainability assessment framework
chapterposted on 2021-10-11, 23:53 authored by Murilo Pagotto, Anthony Halog, Diogo Fleury Azevedo CostaDiogo Fleury Azevedo Costa, Tianchu Lu
This chapter presents and discusses the results of a case study completed to evaluate and develop strategies to improve the sustainability of beef production using the feedlot system in Australia. The study was developed to test a proposed sustainability assessment framework that uses Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) methodologies to assess the sustainability of beef production using a feedlot system in the central region of the state of Queensland, Australia. Beef production was selected because the sector is strongly linked to climate change and other environmental and socio-economic impacts worldwide. Despite being a sector considered environmentally unsustainable when the correct agronomic practices are not in place, it has fundamental socio-economic importance to the country, especially in remote rural communities. Thus, beyond this analysis, this study also reports the application of the proposed sustainability assessment methodology to model and analyse different scenarios potentially created by the implementation of sustainable technologies and circular economy principles in cattle feedlot production systems in Australia. Following these ideologies, the study presented in this chapter assessed the sustainability of a feedlot beef production linear model and considered how the implementation of sustainable approaches that use the principles of circularity and sustainable development would affect the overall sustainability of this complex system. The assessment was performed using a proposed sustainability assessment framework designed to evaluate the sustainability of food systems and verify the effects of the implementation of sustainable production processes in the system. The framework uses LCSA techniques and modelling to evaluate how resources are extracted, processed, consumed and disposed in the natural environment as well as holistic measures of the sustainability and efficiency of complex systems. Additionally, the proposed framework could be used to appraise the consumption and production patterns of a particular economy or region to demonstrate how that society utilises the available resources to satisfy its needs in a sustainable or unsustainable manner.