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Energy Sustainability Issues in Agriculture: Lessons from Developed and Developing Countries

  • Patrizia Ghisellini
  • Sergio Ulgiati
  • Marco Setti
Chapter

Abstract

In the past 50 years the agricultural sector worldwide has gradually changed its production technologies, market relevance, and energy consumption and has been playing varied societal and economic roles. In particular, the shift from extensive to intensive agriculture, although meeting only a fraction of the global food demand, has sharply increased the energy footprint of food production worsening the global and local environmental problems and increasing fossil energy dependence. The study evaluates the life cycle energy intensity of selected agricultural systems in the world, characterized by a different relative contribution of the agricultural sector to the national economy. The assessment points out, quantifies and compares the different performances of national agriculture sectors. By monitoring and evaluating these performances over time, the study provides comprehensive information on the efficiency and effectiveness of energy use over the entire production chain in terms of yield (energy investment/product mass; energy investment/energy content), power density (energy/cropped land), and economic productivity (energy/economic production value). Results help in decision-making process at all levels to identify crucial aspects where inefficiency or inappropriate resource use takes place.

Keywords

Life Cycle Assessment Agricultural Sector Livestock Production Energy Ratio Output Flow 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrizia Ghisellini
    • 1
  • Sergio Ulgiati
    • 2
  • Marco Setti
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Agri-Food Sciences and Technologieslma Mater Studiorum—University of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Sciences and TechnologiesParthenope University of NaplesNaplesItaly
  3. 3.Department of Agri-Food Sciences and Technologies and Interdepartmental Energy and EnvironmentAlma Mater Studiorum—University of BolognaBolognaItaly

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