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Balances energéticos y usos del suelo en la agricultura catalana: una comparación entre mediados del siglo XIX y finales del siglo XX

Author

Listed:
  • Xavier Cussó

    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Ramón Garrabou

    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • José Ramón Olarieta

    (Universitat de Lleida)

  • Enric Tello

    (Universitat de Barcelona)

Abstract

From the analytical perspective of the social metabolism, this article analyses and compares the ground uses and the energetic assessment derived from the uses of the agrarian systems in five towns of the Catalan area of the Valles in two historical moments. Both illustrate the characteristics and magnitude of the transformations occurred in the Catalan agricultural systems during the last 150 years. The former corresponds to mid-19th century, as a representation of how an advanced organic agriculture worked; the latter, in the late 20th century, represents an industrialized agricultural system where the fossil energy and other inputs external to the system are essential. From the information contained, on the one hand, in the amillaramientos, in the cattle censuses and in the assessing forms available for the towns studied here, and, on the other hand, in the current data of censuses in agriculture, forests, yield and uses of the different products, we have built up the energetic results of the two analysed periods. From these results, all through the 150 years, we have seen how an incredible lost of energetic efficiency and of sustainability of the agricultural systems have occurred in spite of the great increase of productivity per hectare of the different crops and in cattle raising, totally attributed to a change from an advanced organic agriculture to some agricultural systems with a high consumption of fossil fuel in the shape of fuel, synthesis fertiliser and pesticides, and especially to the huge weight of the cattle activity, completely developed outside the territory.

Suggested Citation

  • Xavier Cussó & Ramón Garrabou & José Ramón Olarieta & Enric Tello, 2006. "Balances energéticos y usos del suelo en la agricultura catalana: una comparación entre mediados del siglo XIX y finales del siglo XX," Historia Agraria. Revista de Agricultura e Historia Rural, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, issue 40, pages 471-500, december.
  • Handle: RePEc:seh:journl:y:2006:i:40:m:december:p:471-500
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Schandl, Heinz & Schulz, Niels, 2002. "Changes in the United Kingdom's natural relations in terms of society's metabolism and land-use from 1850 to the present day," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 203-221, May.
    2. GiamPietro, Mario & Pimentel, David, 1991. "Energy efficiency: Assessing the interaction between humans and their environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 117-144, November.
    3. Giampietro, Mario & Bukkens, Sandra G. F. & Pimentel, David, 1994. "Models of energy analysis to assess the performance of food systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 19-41.
    4. Gerbens-Leenes, P. W. & Nonhebel, S., 2002. "Consumption patterns and their effects on land required for food," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 185-199, August.
    5. Cusso, Xavier & Garrabou, Ramon & Tello, Enric, 2006. "Social metabolism in an agrarian region of Catalonia (Spain) in 1860-1870: Flows, energy balance and land use," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 49-65, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Duarte, Rosa & Pinilla, Vicente & Serrano, Ana, 2014. "The water footprint of the Spanish agricultural sector: 1860–2010," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 200-207.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    : energy balance; social metabolism; advanced organic agriculture; industrialized agriculture; energetic efficiency; sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N54 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: 1913-
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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