CONCEPTUALIZING AND QUANTIFYING THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
Increasing the amount of food produced while simultaneously reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture is one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity. A promising approach through which this could be achieved is ‘sustainable intensification’. This thesis contributes to the exploration of sustainable intensification using two complementary modes of investigation. First through the development of a conceptual framework that analyzes agricultural systems through the lens of ecosystem services and the trade-offs associated with using external inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, fossil fuels) as substitutes for them. Then by quantifying the life cycle environmental impacts of a novel aquaculture technology developed as a means for minimizing local ecological impacts. These modes of investigation are linked by using the conceptual framework to analyze trade-offs associated with waste capture in the aquaculture system. This research provides a potentially valuable method for conceptualizing agricultural systems and contributes to the knowledge of the environmental trade-offs associated with aquaculture.