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Att mäta och kommunicera hållbart: en analys av ett svenskt jordbruk
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2011 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Tools that highlight the human impact on ecosystems and the accelerating depletion of natural resources are essential in the strife towards a more sustainable way of living. Emergy analysis is a scientific and robust method to assess the degree of sustainability of human as well as natural systems. Despite the advantages of the method, its public breakthrough has been slow. One reason could be that the results of an emergy analysis are difficult to grasp. In contrast, ecological footprint is a concept that has a widespread impact, much due to its pedagogical disposition. Ecological footprint made use of the vision to develop a method to well communicate the magnitude of human effect on nature. Another more recently created method suitable in this context is ecosystem services. Ecosystem services as a concept is not yet so well developed methodologically, but its use of mainstream concepts point toward a promising application.

The main purpose of this study is to make the emergy analysis and ecosystem services methods more accessible and also to facilitate effective communication of the results from these methods. The second part of the study aims to assess the degree of sustainability ofan agricultural system in central Sweden by means of emergy analysis and ecosystems services. By demonstrating the results of the emergy analysis as a foot- and fingerprint, a better understanding of the outcome may be achieved. The footprint, here called emergy-based footprint, visualizes all resources used in the production system. An emergy-based fingerprint identifies the resources of the most important items in the system. Furthermore, ecosystem services are evaluated from a data matrix and presented by means of a radar diagram. Alternative scenarios for the agricultural system were created in the study, each presented as an emergy-based foot- and fingerprint, as well as by means of a radar diagram to visualize the values of the ecosystem services. Together, these methods demonstrate the sustainability characteristics of the different production systems. Results from this study suggest the agricultural system analysed, as well as the developed scenarios, not to be sustainable. The use of emergy analysis combined with ecosystem services and the visualization methods developed in this study, serve to provide accessible and effective communication methods when aiming to transform agricultural systems towards sustainability. The communication methods developed in this study are alsoapplicable in systems other than agriculture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kulturgeografiska institutionen, Uppsala universitet , 2011. , 161 p.
Keyword [en]
Resource use, sustainability, agricultural system, emergy-based foot- and fingerprint, ecosystem services, communication
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography; Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-153362ISBN: 978-91-506-2217-1OAI: diva2:416509
Available from: 2011-05-12 Created: 2011-05-12 Last updated: 2011-05-12Bibliographically approved

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