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A novel fuzzy expert system to assess the sustainability of the viticulture at the wine-estate scale
- Lamastra, L., Balderacchi, M., Di Guardo, A., Monchiero, M., Trevisan, M.
- The Science of the total environment 2016 v.572 pp. 724-733
- biodiversity, carbon, computer software, decision support systems, environmental impact, environmental indicators, farms, fertilizer application, geographic information systems, greenhouse gas emissions, life cycle assessment, models, pest management, soil organic matter, stakeholders, technicians, vineyards, viticulture, water footprint, wine industry, wines
- The wine industry is definitely committed in sustainability: the stakeholders' interest for the topic is constantly growing and a wide number of sustainability programs have been launched in recent years. Most of these programs are focusing on the environmental aspects as environmental sustainability indicators, greenhouse gases emissions and the use of Life Cycle Assessment methodology. Among the environmental indicators the carbon and the water footprint are often used. These indicators, while being useful to assess the sustainability performance of the winegrowing farms, do not take into account important aspects related to the agronomic management of the vineyard. To fill this gap a new indicator called “Vigneto” (Vineyard in Italian language) has been developed. “Vigneto” is a multidimensional indicator to evaluate the sustainability of management options adopted at field scale. It considers the main agronomic aspects, which can have an impact on the environment. These include (i) pest management, (ii) soil management (erosion and compaction), (iii) fertility management (soil organic matter management and fertilizer application), (iv) biodiversity management. Those aspects have been related by fuzzy logics and implemented in web GIS software. The application of the model allows obtaining a general judgment of the agronomic sustainability of the vineyard management: the judgment varies from “A” (excellent) to “E” (completely unsustainable). The produced model was validated and tested by four Italian wine estate. The model output reports that the tested wineries have different management strategies: producers manage vineyards in different ways, depending on the different geographical position. The main differences are related to the soil management and to the presence of natural areas different from vineyard.The developed model can be defined as an environmental decision support system that can be used by wine companies' technicians to define the vineyard practices sustainability performance and support them in the definition of more sustainable management practices.