Pulselli, Riccardo Maria and Pulselli, Federico Maria and Rustici, Mauro (2008) Emergy accounting of the province of Siena: towards a thermodynamic geography for regional studies. Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 86 (2), p. 342-353. ISSN 0301-4797. Article.
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This research is part of the SPIn-Eco project for the Province of Siena, Italy, and applies an environmental accounting method to a region with reference to its population, human activities, natural cycles, infrastructures and other settings. This study asserts that the consumption of resources due to the human economy is a source of great concern because of the load it places on the biosphere. Environmental resources locally used, whether directly or indirectly, from both renewable energy fluxes and storage of materials and energies, are investigated. In this paper emergy analysis is presented and applied to the Province of Siena and to each of its municipalities, in order to evaluate the main flows of energy and materials that supply the territorial system, including human subsystems, with reference to their actual environmental cost. Therefore, the behaviour of the whole system and the interactions between natural and human agents were studied; in other words, the attitudes of the territorial systems toward resource use as revealed by their patterns of emergy consumption were observed. Once expressed in units of the same form of energy through the emergy evaluation, categories of resource consumption and systems of varying scales and organization are compared. Furthermore, indexes of environmental performance based on emergy are calculated. Flows of energy and materials are assessed, and their intensities, which vary throughout the area of the Province, are then visualized on maps.
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