California grown almonds are not only good tasting, but good for the environment too according to a new study by the University of California, Davis, which revealed that almond producers are making strides towards reducing carbon emissions.
"This critical research further reinforces the importance of our longstanding commitment to independent, third-party analysis of next-generation farming practices," said Richard Waycott, president and CEO of the Almond Board of California. "Our ongoing research programs help drive development of innovative production solutions that lead to continued improvement in efficient and sustainable, environmentally responsible farming."
The study shows that through re-using byproducts from the production and harvest of almonds, which are keys to the industry’s environmental impact, producers can further reduce carbon emissions in order to become carbon neutral or even carbon negative in terms of greenhouse gases.
The study, which was funded in part by a grant from the Almond Board of California and published in The Journal of Industrial Ecology, comes as a comprehensive lifecycle assessment that examines several interrelated elements, including land preparation, planting the tree, the life term of the tree, and removal.
"We have identified several key areas where changes in orchard management, technology and policy have helped the California almond industry reduce greenhouse gas emissions in recent years,” said coauthor Elias Marvinney, doctoral candidate at UC Davis. “If these trends continue to be supported, there is very strong potential for almond production to become carbon neutral or even carbon negative."
“Almond orchards capture and store a significant amount of carbon both above and below the surface over their footprints,” added coauthor Alissa Kendall, associate professor in the UC Davis Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Gabrielle Ludwig, the Almond Board of California’s Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, noted that through California Almond Sustainability Program the almond industry assists the almond community in identifying the best practices in terms of environmental and economic impacts. It also works to incentivize and maximize re-use of all co-products in the production process.
“The comprehensive nature of this new research provides a solid foundation for our ongoing work in this area,’ said Ludwig. “California’s almond growers are deeply committed to responsible and sustainable growing practices and this new life cycle assessment helps illustrate where the industry can make the biggest impact in supporting the environment.”