Potential Nitrogen Load from Crop-Livestock Systems: An Agri-environmental Spatial Database for a Multi-scale Assessment

  • Marco VizzariEmail author
  • Alessandra Santucci
  • Luca Casagrande
  • Mariano Pauselli
  • Paolo Benincasa
  • Michela Farneselli
  • Sara Antognelli
  • Luciano Morbidini
  • Piero Borghi
  • Giacomo Bodo
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9155)


The EU “Water” Directive establishes a common European framework for the environmental protection of inland, coastal and marine waters. Environmental pressures related to agri-livestock systems are still a major concern among the general public and policy makers. In this study, carried out in Umbria region, Italy, a novel spatial database for a multi-scale analysis was designed and implemented integrating different agricultural and livestock farming datasets. Beyond descriptive indicators about agricultural and livestock farming systems, this database allows to assess, at different geographic levels of investigation (cadastral sheets, municipalities, provinces, entire region, Nitrogen Vulnerable Zones, bodies of groundwater, sub-basins), the potential nitrogen crop supply, the potential nitrogen availability from livestock manure, and, by means of a scenario analysis, the total potential nitrogen load. These indicators appear to be very relevant to support decision making and to pursue the environmental objectives established by EU and national regulations.


Water framework directive Non-point source pollution Environmental planning Agri-environmental indicators Crop-livestock data integration 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    EEA (European Environment Agency): Europe’s environment. The fourth assessment. State of the Environment Report no. 1 (2006). Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg (2007)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Martinez, J., Dabert, P., Barrington, S., Burton, C.: Livestock waste treatment systems for environmental quality, food safety, and sustainability. Bioresource technology 100, 5527–5536 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bonazzi, G., Fabbri, C., Valli, L.: Allevamenti a basso impatto ambientale. CRPA, Centro Ricerche Produzioni Animali, Regione Emilia Romagna. Informatore Agrario Edizioni, Bologna (2003)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    EEA (European Environment Agency): EEA Signals 2009, key environmental issues facing Europe. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg (2009)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Halberg, N., Van der Werf, H.M.G., Basset-Mens, C., Dalgaard, R., de Boer, L.J.M.: Environmental assessment tools for the evaluation and improvement of European livestock production systems. Livestock Production Science 96, 33–50 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Steinfeld, H., Mooney, H.A., Schneider, F., Neville, L.: Livestock in a changing landscape, vol. 1: Drivers, consequences, and responses. Island Press, Washington DC (2010)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burton, C., Martinez, J.: Contrasting the management of livestock manures in Europe with the practice in Asia: What lessons can be learnt? Outlook on Agriculture 37, 195–201 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mantovi, P., Piccinini, S., Baldoni, G.: Fanghi di depurazione, gli effetti a lungo termine su colture e terreni. Agricoltura, Regione Emilia-Romagna (2005)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Steinfeld, H., Gerber, P., Wassenaar, T., Castel, V., Rosales, M., de Haan, C.: Livestock’s long shadow: environmental issues and options. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), Rome (2006)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sutton, M., Howard, C., Erisman, J.: The European nitrogen assessment: sources, effects and policy perspectives. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Teira-Esmatges, M.R., Flotats, X.: A method for livestock waste management planning in NE Spain. Waste management 23, 917–932 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    EEA (European Environment Agency): Agriculture and environment in EU-15. The IRENA indicator Report. EEA (European Environment Agency) Report no. 6/2005, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg (2005)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization): The state of food and agriculture. Livestock in the balance. FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome (2009)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Benincasa, P., Guiducci, M., Tei, F.: The nitrogen use efficiency: meaning and sources of variation - Case studies on three vegetable crops in central Italy. Horttechnology 21, 266–273 (2011)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Tosti, G., Benincasa, P., Farneselli, M., Tei, F., Guiducci, M.: Barley–hairy vetch mixture as cover crop for green manuring and the mitigation of N leaching risk. European Journal of Agronomy 54, 34–39 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Farneselli, M., Benincasa, P., Tosti, G., Pace, R., Tei, F., Guiducci, M.: Nine-year results on maize and processing tomato in an organic and in a conventional low input cropping system. Italian Journal of Agronomy 8, 9–13 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Brouwer, F.: Nitrogen balances at farm level as a tool to monitor effects of agri-environmental policy. Nutrient cycling in Agroecosystems 52, 303–308 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Oenema, O., Kros, H., De Vries, W.: Approaches and uncertainties in nutrient budgets: implications for nutrient management and environmental policies. European Journal of Agronomy 20, 3–16 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Parris, K.: Agricultural nutrient balances as agri-environmental indicators: an OECD perspective. Environmental Pollution 102, 219–225 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Oenema, O.: Nitrogen budgets and losses in livestock systems. International Congress Series 1293, 262–271 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Vizzari, M., Modica, G.: Environmental Effectiveness of Swine Sewage Management: A Multicriteria AHP-Based Model for a Reliable Quick Assessment. Environmental management 52, 1023–1039 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    APAT (Italian Agency for Environmental Protection and Technical Services): L’inquinamento da nitrati di origine agricola nelle acque interne in Italia. APAT (Italian Agency for Environmental Protection and Technical Services) Report no. 50/2005 (2005)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ju, S., DeAngelis, D.L.: Nutrient fluxes at the landscape level and the R* rule. Ecological Modelling 221, 141–146 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cingolani, L., Charavgis, F.: Monitoraggio qualitativo dei corsi d’acqua superficiali individuati nel Piano Stralcio per il Lago Trasimeno. Regione Umbria (2004)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kesner, B.T., Meentemeyer, V.: A regional analysis of total nitrogen in an agricultural landscape. Landscape Ecology 2, 151–163 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Öborn, I., Edwards, A., Witter, E., Oenema, O., Ivarsson, K., Withers, P.J.A., Nilsson, S.I., Richert Stinzing, A.: Element balances as a tool for sustainable nutrient management: a critical appraisal of their merits and limitations within an agronomic and environmental context. European Journal of Agronomy 20, 211–225 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Provolo, G., Riva, E., Serù, S.: Gestione e riduzione dell’azoto di origine zootecnica. Soluzioni tecnologiche e impiantistiche. Quaderni della ricerca. ERSAF (Ente Rregionale per I Servizi all’Agricoltura e alle Foreste). Regione Lombardia (2007)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Goodchild, M.F., Parks, B.O., Steyaert, L.T. (eds.): Environmental Modeling with GIS. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1993)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Andreu, J., Capilla, J., Sanchís, E.: AQUATOOL, a generalized decision-support system for water-resources planning and operational management. Journal of Hydrology 177, 269–291 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Mysiak, J., Giupponi, C., Rosato, P.: Towards the development of a decision support system for water resource management. Environ. Model. Softw. 20, 203–214 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    McLain, R., Poe, M., Biedenweg, K., Cerveny, L., Besser, D., Blahna, D.: Making Sense of Human Ecology Mapping: An Overview of Approaches to Integrating Socio-Spatial Data into Environmental Planning. Human Ecology 41, 651–665 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Coutinho-Rodrigues, J., Simão, A.: A GIS-based multicriteria spatial decision support system for planning urban infrastructures. Decision Support Systems 51(3), 720–726 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    CRPA (Centro Ricerche Produzioni Animali) L’uso dei fanghi di depurazione, Agricoltura 2/2009, 53–66, Regione Emilia-Romagna (2009)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Tukey, W.: Exploratory Data Analysis. Addison-Wesley (1977)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Vandervieren, E., Hubert, M.: An adjusted boxplot for skewed distributions. In: Antoch, J. (ed.) Proceedings in Computational Statistics 1933–1940. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg (2004)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Yli-Viikari, A., Hietala-Koivu, R., Huusela-Veistola, E., Hyvönen, T., Perälä, P., Turtola, E.: Evaluating agri-environmental indicators (AEIs) - Use and limitations of international indicators at national level. Ecological Indicators 7, 150–163 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Bodo, G., Tamburi, L.: Analisi delle modalità di utilizzo agronomico dei reflui zootecnici. Piano di Tutela delle Acque della Regione Umbria, Regione Umbria (2005)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Jain, D.K., Tim, U.S., Jolly, R.: Spatial decision support system for planning sustainable livestock production. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 19, 57–75 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Mendes, A., Soares da Silva, E., Azevedo Santos, J. (eds.): Efficiency Measures in the Agricultural Sector. Springer Science+Business Media, Dordrecht (2013)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Bimonte, S., Bertolotto, M., Gensel, J., Boussaid, O.: Spatial OLAP and Map Generalization. International Journal of Data Warehousing and Mining 8, 24–51 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Boulil, K., Le Ber, F., Bimonte, S., Grac, C., Cernesson, F.: Multidimensional modeling and analysis of large and complex watercourse data: an OLAP-based solution. Ecological Informatics 24, 90–106 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Rivest, S., Bédard, Y., Marchand, P.: Towards better support for spatial decision-making: defining the characteristics of Spatial On-Line Analytical Processing (SOLAP). Geomatica, the Journal of the Canadian Institute of Geomatics 55, 539–555 (2001)Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Pennacchi, F., Cortina, C., Massei, G., Vizzari, M.: Valutazione del programma agro-ambientale della Regione Umbria – Studio di una procedura di valutazione. Department of Economic and Estimative Sciences, University of Perugia, Perugia (2001)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Vizzari, M., Mennella, V., Maraziti, F.: Rischio ambientale nel bacino del lago Trasimeno. Vulnerabilità del territorio e impatti legati alla gestione dei liquami suinicoli. Faculty of Agriculture, University of Perugia, Perugia (2008)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Vizzari
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alessandra Santucci
    • 2
  • Luca Casagrande
    • 3
  • Mariano Pauselli
    • 1
  • Paolo Benincasa
    • 1
  • Michela Farneselli
    • 1
  • Sara Antognelli
    • 1
  • Luciano Morbidini
    • 1
  • Piero Borghi
    • 1
  • Giacomo Bodo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental SciencesUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  2. 2.ARPA (Agenzia Regionale Protezione Ambientale)UmbriaItaly
  3. 3.T4E S.r.l.PerugiaItaly

Personalised recommendations