Estimating the relationship between grain crop consumption in Australia and environmental sustainability

Uddin, Gazi A. and Alam, Khorshed and Gow, Jeff (2015) Estimating the relationship between grain crop consumption in Australia and environmental sustainability. Journal of Developing Areas, 49 (6). pp. 49-60. ISSN 0022-037X

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Abstract

The whole food system which involves agricultural production, food processing and packaging, distribution and retail as well as consumption requires inputs such as land, water, fertiliser, pesticides, herbicides and energy, which are responsible for environmental degradation. The main aim of this paper is to determine the size of the ecological footprint of grains consumption in Australia for evaluating the level of environmental sustainability. The ecological footprint methodology permits the monitoring of dominant threats to sustainability. One of the benefits of ecological footprint methodology is its capacity to distinguish between resources consumed and resources available and then reveal how ecologically sustainable those consumption patterns are. The study begins with an analysis of the ecological footprint of grain crops consumption, then analyses the biocapacity. The study concludes by making a comparison between ecological footprint and biocapacity and then assessing its sustainability of grain crops consumption. The paper uses both local and global yield data in terms of global hectare and local hectare respectively with inter-temporal time-series yield factors. This paper also uses production and consumption data on various grain crops. The refined method of determining the ecological footprint has provided a new assessment tool to gain insights into the environmental impacts of grain crops consumption. This method in this study had also highlighted the contribution of the EF as an indicator of environmental sustainability. Results indicate that the ecological footprint of grain consumption in Australia only exceeds biocapacity when the energy requirements of these crops are included in the evaluation. This study also reveals that that Australia’s grain consumption is unsustainable at the national scale, and still below the world-average ecological appropriation level. The size of the revealed ecological footprint are responsible for the amount of the grain consumption, energy inputs, the size of the population, the degree of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) gas emissions, and the amount of other farm inputs. This paper highlights the environmental significance of the ecological footprint of grain crops consumption in Australia. This paper also reinforces how intensely a sustainable future depends on the reshaping of the Australian grain industry. Finally, this paper discusses some of the implications of the method presented here for future footprint calculations and environmental sustainability. If Australia wants to shift to a smarter, more sustainable agricultural future; it must strive to shift to lower impact products and services, to increase the efficiency of the production through reducing energy inputs.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright Tennessee State University College of Business.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2015 01:29
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2016 03:59
Uncontrolled Keywords: biocapacity; ecological footprint; equivalence factor; population; yield factors
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050302 Land Capability and Soil Degradation
14 Economics > 1403 Econometrics > 140305 Time-Series Analysis
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960609 Sustainability Indicators
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1353/jda.2015.0089
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/27127

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