Application of social metabolism to agriculture

Claudio Cattaneo

Friday 29th June, 10.00 – 11.30, Can Masdéu (Barcelona)

The energy efficiency of agriculture (EROI) is an important issue in the light of climate change and peak-oil as the current pattern is energetically unsustainable. The presentation will explore further the issue of EROI by opening the black box and exploring the energy flows across the funds that constitute agroecosystems. A Multi-EROI / Multi-scale perspective is adopted on the different compartments of an agroecosystem such as different land-uses, livestock, power capacity, workers and consumers’ energy needs. The case study of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area and how EROI, flow/fund and landscape ecology indicators have evolved between 1956 and 2009 is presented.

Brief description of the method
The method combines the EROIs perspective in agriculture (Tello et al., 2016) (based on MEFA analysis) with MuSIASEM applied (based on the flow/fund and fund/fund analysis) to land cover and land use change and hence, the Energy-Landscape Integrated Analysis (Marull et al., 2016).


Compulsory readings:
Cattaneo C., Marull, J and Tello, E.,forthcoming “The agrarian metabolism of the Barcelona Region. The loss of the circular economy, 1956-2009”
Tello, E., et al., 2016. Opening the black box of energy throughputs in farm systems: A decomposition analysis between the energy returns to external inputs, internal biomass reuses and total inputs consumed (the Vallès County, Catalonia, c.1860 and 1999) Ecological Economics121, 160-174.