Project Outreach and Publications

Project staff engaged with California growers, farm advisors and other extension personnel, and partner organizations throughout the study. 

Project Staff

Dr. Sonja Brodt, Academic Coordinator, UC SAREP and ASI (Project Director)
Dr. Alissa Kendall, Associate Professor, UC Davis Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Elias Marvinney, Graduate Student Researcher, UC Davis Plant Sciences Department

Orchard Life Cycle Assessment: Findings

This study calculated the GHG emissions, energy use, on-farm water use and six common air pollutants linked to the production of five orchard crops, and considered production stages from orchard establishment through management, post-harvest processing, and orchard removal and disposal. Transportation along the entire orchard life cycle was also included.

Orchard LCA Model Development and Assumptions

LCA Methodology and Framework

LCA is a comprehensive method for estimating and analyzing the environmental impacts of products and services ‘from cradle to grave.’  In the case of orchard production, the analysis is from ‘nursery to farm-gate’ – including manufacturing and shipping of agrochemicals, fuels, materials, and equipment, as well as air emissions from the combustion of fuels and field emissions. For some crops this study also extends beyond the farm gate to include post-harvest and processing operations.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool for analyzing the environmental impacts and resources used throughout a product's life, from raw materials extraction to production, and extending through product use and disposal. LCA can be used to compare alternative products, processes or services; compare alternative life cycles for a certain product or service; or identify the parts of a life cycle where the greatest improvements can be made.

A standard LCA framework consists of the following distinct steps: