ELIA (Energy Landscape Integrated Analysis) is a method that combines energy analysis of agroecosystems (energy flows and capacity to store energy within them) with land cover / land use change and so it represents the energy imprint over a landscape.
First applied to Vallès County in the Barcelona Region a similar study is here replicated to a new time point and to other ten cases across Europe and North America, each of them with three to four data points ranging between mid XIXth century and the present.
For each of the cases it determines land use heterogeneity/polarization (measured using an adaptation of the Shannon index) and its evolution over time (Landscape variable).
Moreover, knowing the energy balances in farming activities it determines the level of energy complexity/information (measured by the capacity of an agroecosystem to harness energy, by the human energy reinvestment effort, and by the agroecosystem’s generation of internal energy loops that are well balanced with external energy flows) and its evolution over time (Energy variables)
Finally, for each of the cases, it studies if any evolution over time between Landscape and Energy variables can be obtained and also, if a general trend considering all cases at a glance.
The paper contributes to enhancing our understanding of the complex relationships between energy flows and their imprint on the landscape patterns; it integrates two important disciplines such as material-energy flow analysis (social metabolism studies, ecological economics) and quantitative landscape ecology (land cover land use change, biodiversity and conservation) and contribute
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Sustainable Farm Systems? Applying Energy—Landscape Integrated Analysis in past and present Western agricultures“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.