Emergy signature as a basis for sustainability valuation of agro-ecosystems

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Bhim Bahadur Ghaley, Manuel Montesino San Martin, John Roy Porter

Traditionally, research and advisory service had focused on increasing crop yield and improving the efficiency of the production systems for bringing down he price of food. However, the environmental and ecological costs are not taken into account which has a significant bearing of the long term sustainability of the agricultural practice. The emergy analysis is an accounting tool which takes into account both the environment and the economic costs of the production system, based on principles of thermodynamics. Here the objective of the study is the evaluation of a novel organically based, food and energy production (CFE) system to assess the resource use efficiency compared to conventional intensive winter wheat production system in Demark by using Emergy analysis (Odum and Odum, 2000). The emergy analysis was carried out by taking into account the inflow and
the outflows of emergy within the boundaries of the production systems and calculating the emergy indices. The results reveal that the innovative agroecosystems, exemplified by CFE, are less resources demanding and amenable to local environments and helps conserve the ecosystem services in terms of sustainable supply of soil nutrients, moisture and biomass production. The study proposes a need for balance of intensive agriculture to produce enough food and CFE-like systems to maintain the ecosystem services required
for the continued provision of food, fodder and energy needs of the growing world population.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2011
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventEcosystem Services Partnership: Ecosystem Service; Integrating Science and Practice - Wageningen , Netherlands
Duration: 4 Oct 20117 Oct 2011
Conference number: 3

Conference

ConferenceEcosystem Services Partnership
Number3
CountryNetherlands
CityWageningen
Period04/10/201107/10/2011

Bibliographical note

Porter J. Costanza R. Sandhu H. Sigsgaard L & Wratten S (2009). The Value of Producing Food. Energy. and Ecosystem Services within an Agro-Ecosystem. Ambio 38:186-193.
Rydberg T & Haden AC (2006). Emergy evaluations of Denmark and Danish agriculture: Assessing the influence of changing resource availability on the organization of agriculture and society. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 117:145-158
Odum HT & Odum EC (2006). The prosperous way down. Energy 31:21-32.
Odum HT & Odum EP (2000). The energetic basis for valuation of ecosystem services. Ecosystems 3:21-23.
MEA (2005). Millenium Ecosystem Assessment. In Ecosystems and human well-being: Biodiversity synthesis. World Resources Institute. 2005. Washington. DC.
Brown MT, Odum HT & Jorgensen SE (2004) Energy hierarchy and transformity in the universe. Ecol. Modelling 178:17-28.

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