Emergy Synthesis of Intensive Eucalyptus Cultivation in São Paolo, Brazil
We used environmental accounting to evaluate high-intensity clonal eucalyptus production in São Paolo, Brazil, converting inputs (environmental, material, and labor) to emergy units so ecological efficiency could be compared on a common basis. Input data were compiled under three pH management scenarios (lime, ash, and sludge). The dominant emergy input is environmental work (transpired water, 58% of total emergy), followed by diesel (15%); most purchased emergy is invested during harvest (41.8% of 7-year production totals). Where recycled materials are used for pH amendment (ash or sludge instead of lime), we observe marked improvements in ecological efficiency; lime (raw) yielded the highest unit emergy value (UEV = emergy per unit energy in the product = 9.6E + 03 sej J−1), whereas using sludge and ash (recycled) reduced the UEV to 8.9E + 03 and 8.8E + 03 sej J−1, respectively. The emergy yield ratio was similarly affected, suggesting better ecological return on energy invested. Sensitivity of resource use to other operational modifications (e.g., decreased diesel, labor, or agrochemicals) was small (<3% change). Emergy synthesis permits comparison of sustainability among forest production systems globally. This eucalyptus scheme shows the highest ecological efficiency of analyzed pulp production operations (UEV range = 1.1 to 3.6E + 04 sej J−1) despite high operational intensity.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2008-04-01
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