Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 31, pp 32432–32445 | Cite as

Multiyear life energy and life cycle assessment of orange production in Iran

  • Ali Alishah
  • Ali MotevaliEmail author
  • Reza Tabatabaeekoloor
  • Seyyed Jafar Hashemi
Research Article


Increasing agricultural production requires the application of more chemical inputs during the growth of different crops. This study aims at assessing the energy indicators and environmental impacts during the initial 7-year growth of orange orchards. Through the life cycle assessment (LCA) technique, the hotspots in 11 environmental indicators of the orange orchard growth were determined for different years. The system boundaries were considered to be the orange orchard gates, and the functional units were 1 kg of orange and 1-h orange orchard. The energy input of nitrogen fertilizer, diesel, and human labor has the biggest share in the total energy inputs. The total average energy input and energy output (in 7 years) were calculated as 62,917.027 MJ/ha and 47,618.17 MJ/ha, respectively. The results showed that the energy indices (energy efficiency and net energy) were increasing from year first to seventh and also the share of renewable energy increased. According to the results, with respect to the highest share for production of 1 kg orange in different criteria, nitrogen fertilizer was the main contributor to abiotic depletion and human toxicity, orchard field emissions and nitrogen fertilizer had the highest shares in global warming and photochemical oxidation, fossil fuels and nitrogen fertilizer were the highest contributors to ozone layer depletion, whereas ecotoxicity was mainly affected by chemical fertilizers and orchard surface emissions. Finally, the main contributor for acidification and eutrophication was surface emissions. In the study of environmental impacts from the first to the seventh year, it should be noted that if the functional unit is considered mass based (1 kg orange), due to the unproductive of the trees in the first to third years (low fruit production), the environmental effects are high and then it decreases after the third year due to increasing the yield of the product. Generally, with consideration of the tree growth period, the useful data of energy and environmental impacts for production horticultural products can be provided so that we can avoid multiple interpretations of results associated to reporting annual energy and environmental impact variations.


Life cycle assessment Environmental indicators Energy parameters Orange Multiyear 



The number of samples in the target population


The standard deviation of the population


The value at the 95% confidence interval (1.96)


The acceptable error (permissible error 5%)


Required population (sample size)


Energy efficiency (%)


Net energy (MJ/ha)


Energy productivity (kg/MJ)


Specific energy (MJ/kg)


The total direct nitrous oxide emissions (kg)

Nn & f

The total available nitrogen in manure and nitrogen fertilizer (kg)


The total urea in nitrogen fertilizer (kg)


The total ammonia emissions (kg)


The total available nitrogen in manure fertilizer (kg)


The total available nitrogen in fertilizer (kg)

\( {\mathrm{NO}}_3^{-} \)

The total nitrate emissions (kg)


The total carbon dioxide emissions (kg)


The total nitrogen oxide emissions (kg)

N2Of & s

The total nitrous oxide in nitrogen fertilizer and soil (kg)


The total equivalent carbon dioxide emission (kg)


The total working hours by human labor (h)


The total indirect nitrous oxide emissions (kg)


The amount of phoshporus lost to run-off (kg P/ha)


The mean amount of phosphorus lost in agricultural lands (0.175 kg P/ha)


The factor related to fertilizers


The quantity of P2O5 contained in mineral fertilizer (kg/ha)


The quantity of P2O5 contained in slurry or liquid fertilizer (kg/ha)


The quantity of P2O5 contained in solid manure (kg/ha)


Funding information

This study was funded by Sari Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University (MSc Thesis).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Alishah
    • 1
  • Ali Motevali
    • 1
    Email author
  • Reza Tabatabaeekoloor
    • 1
  • Seyyed Jafar Hashemi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biosystem EngineeringSari Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources UniversitySariIran

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