Evaluation of Agro-Ecosystem Health Using Energy-Use Efficiency and Overproduction of Entropy

Document Type : Original Articles


1 Associate Professor, Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zabol, Zabol, Iran

2 2MSc. Student in Agroecology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zabol, Zabol, Iran


There is an increasing call for a standardized framework to monitor and evaluate sustainability in agriculture. In recent years, a large number of models of system simulation have been developed in order to assess agro-ecosystems sustainability. This paper presents a brief description of an indicator for the sustainability of agro-ecosystems, based on the energy efficiency and overproduction of entropy. Agro-ecosystem sustainability is then evaluated using energetic input and output parameters of Jovain Agricultural and Industrial Company in Sabzevar in 2005 and 2009. The results indicated that the different kind of crops have different environmental sustainability. Various reasons could be caused these differences, but in many cases the extensive use of inputs was the important reason. The characteristics of the crop itself play a minor role. Although the method allows only rough estimations of entropy in agro-ecosystems. It can be stated that, sustainability was improved due to a reduction of artificial energy input comparing to the results that obtained in 2005 and 2009. Nevertheless, all the examined crop fields are far from reaching a sustainable state from a thermodynamic point of view in both years.


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