The Energy–Landscape Integrated Analysis (ELIA) of Agroecosystems

  • Joan MarullEmail author
  • Carme Font
Part of the Human-Environment Interactions book series (HUEN, volume 7)


Over the last century, we have seen an unprecedented growth in both global food production and associated socio-environmental conflicts, connected to increasingly industrialized farm systems and a decline in biodiversity. The objective of this chapter is to bring together an integrated methodology, applicable to different spatial scales (from regional to local), to deal with the long-term socio-metabolic balances and changes in the ecological functionality of farm systems. We propose an Intermediate Disturbance-Complexity model of agroecosystems to assess how different levels of human appropriation of photosynthetic production affect the functional landscape structure that hosts biodiversity on a regional scale. We have developed an Energy-Landscape Integrated Analysis that allows us to measure both the energy storage represented by the complexity of internal energy loops, and the energy information held in the whole network of socio-metabolic energy flows, in order to correlate both with the energy imprint in the landscape patterns and processes that sustain biodiversity on a local scale. Further research could help to reveal how and why different management strategies of agroecosystems lead to key turning-points in the relationship between energy flows, landscape functioning and biodiversity. There is no doubt that this research will be very useful in the future to help design more worldwide sustainable food systems.


Food-biodiversity dilemma Land-sharing debate Intermediate disturbance hypothesis Human appropriation of net primary production Energy return of investment Sustainable farm systems 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Barcelona Institute of Regional and Metropolitan StudiesAutonomous University of BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsAutonomous University of BarcelonaBellaterraSpain

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