Agricultural life cycle assessment: a system-wide bibliometric research

Keywords: agriculture, life cycle assessment, life cycle costing, social life cycle assessment, sustainability, Biblioshiny.


Purpose. This paper aims to give a system-wide overview of agricultural life cycle assessment (LCA), based on the understanding of agriculture as a complex providing humanity with food, energy and other vital resources and considering all forms of sector’s influence: environmental, social, and economic. This review is intended to outline the temporal and geographical spread of agricultural LCA research, the main aspects studied with LCA in agriculture, and relevant scientific themes via bibliometric analysis and an overview of high-quality scientific publications in this field.

Methodology / approach. This study used traditional bibliometric research techniques: performance analysis, scientific mapping, and network analysis. Bibliometric analysis was conducted through the Bibliometrix R package in the RStudio and its extension – Biblioshiny. The bibliographic collection covers 259 academic English-language articles indexed in Scopus for 1999–2022.

Results. The study identifies a significant growth in a number of agricultural LCA publications, a tendency of current LCA research to continue and complement earlier research findings, and to accentuate environmental aspects of agricultural activity. Developed countries lead this field of research in terms of productivity and impact. However, LCA studies are geographically concentrated, and collaboration between developed and developing countries is weak. The following issues shape the agri-LCA research structure: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions analysis; LCA of various impacts of agriculture; challenges of agriculture environmental impacts measuring; LCA usage to ensure agriculture sustainability; agri-LCA methodology. Emphasis on GHG emissions in agri-LCA could lead to biased decisions promoting climate-resilient agriculture but neglecting other impacts and dimensions of the sector’s sustainability.

Originality / scientific novelty. It was found that the rapid development of the field of research featured a certain stability, continuity, and historical relationship between the issues studied. Research transform from a highly specialised topic into a broader one by the scope of publishing sources but are highly geographically concentrated and not equally distributed even within the European Union. As far as is known, these results have not been previously reported.

Practical value / implications. The identified “closedness” of the research community leads to weak scientific progress. Sharing knowledge and involving a broader set of stakeholders to promote LCA application in agriculture globally must be a priority of scholars and policymakers.


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How to Cite
Koblianska, I., Kalachevska, L., & Schlauderer, R. (2024). Agricultural life cycle assessment: a system-wide bibliometric research. Agricultural and Resource Economics: International Scientific E-Journal, 10(1), 46–72.