Agriculture is a key economic sector for developing countries confronting challenges on the overexploitation of land and water resources for food and biofuels crop production. Sugarcane is recognized as a promising crop serving both food and bioenergy needs that are being promoted leading to expansion of the plantation areas. The study assesses the land-water-energy nexus of irrigated and non-irrigated sugarcane production systems in the Chao Phraya and Chi watersheds of Thailand using carbon footprint, ecological footprint, and water scarcity footprint. The results indicate that freshwater resource is essential to sugarcane productivity improvement. Irrigation helps increase the sugarcane yields around 23–54% as compared to the non-irrigated system; the carbon and ecological footprint of sugarcane products are also consequently decreased by around 11–36% and 15–35%, respectively. Nevertheless, the water scarcity potential would be increased. Hence, the efficient irrigation technology like drip irrigation is an important factor to drive sustainable sugarcane production in the future. Land-water-energy nexus management measures for improving sustainability of sugarcane production are also recommended.
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2018
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