Les empreintes environnementales de l'approvisionnement alimentaire : Paris, ses viandes et lait, XIXe-XXIe siècles

Abstract : For the sake of the sustainable development as a measure against global environmental change, urban consumption needs to be studied through the processes that underlie production and assessed in terms of resource use and pollutant emissions into the environment. This PhD thesis devotes to understand the mechanisms in supplying meat and milk to Paris over two hundred years and measure the land requirements, water withdrawals and nitrogen flows between agrosystems and the environment to supply each product in the early 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. We used agricultural and transport statistics from French and international data sources to locate the Paris hinterland at each date, quantify the urban food supply as a proportion of the regional potential food production, precisely model the diets of the livestock according to the animal productivity and the feed availability in the regional and global markets at the dawn of each century, compute the nitrogen, energy and feed conversion efficiencies in the meat and milk production and, finally, assess both the size and the geographic pattern of the Paris acreage (spatial imprint) and of the nitrogen and water flows in support of the production. The water imprint is used to account for the water withdrawals (irrigation and rainwater) in terms of volume and use intensity. The N imprint measures on the one hand the total amount of reactive nitrogen entering the agrosystems and the partitioning of these inputs between the food production and the environmental losses. The latter are referred to as “the depth” of the urban imprint which provides a measurement of the indirect contribution of urban areas to the alteration of the N cycle. When expressed on a “per capita” basis (kg N/cap) the depth of the imprint shows the emissions of reactive nitrogen to supply the diet of one person as opposed to the direct individual N discharge in urban wastewater. When expressed on a “per hectare” basis, it shows the intensity of the upstream urban N emissions and can be used as a tool for assessing urban sustainability beyond the city limits. Since the early 19th century, the land requirements for the “per capita” meat and milk consumption in Paris (equaling about 2 kg N/cap/year in both the early 19th and the early 21st centuries) reduced six-fold – with about 30 % of the reduction relating to the doubling of the nutrient conversion efficiencies in the secondary production – but the water use intensity and the “per hectare” depth of the imprint respectively doubled and quadrupled. We estimate that currently, about 45 % of the N losses - meaning 5.1 kg N/per/year or 60 kg N/ha – stem from abandoned manure. As the beef, pork and fresh milk imports to Paris currently account for about 25 % of the protein intake of a Parisian and given that animal production is a priori more wasteful that primary production, we estimate that the “per capita” emissions of N for providing the whole diet equal over 7 times the urban N discharges, meaning that a city's wastewater treatment plants handle less than 15 % of the total (direct and indirect) food related N emissions of the citizens
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Petros Chatzimpiros. Les empreintes environnementales de l'approvisionnement alimentaire : Paris, ses viandes et lait, XIXe-XXIe siècles. Architecture, aménagement de l'espace. Université Paris-Est, 2011. Français. ⟨NNT : 2011PEST1135⟩. ⟨pastel-00834837⟩

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