Energy flux analysis in fruit agroecosystems

M.C. Dussi, C. Fernández, L.B. Flores
Industrial production systems use subsidies that accelerate energy flux and nutrient cycles increasing entropy. This is visualized in the contamination and loss of diversity. Energy flux analysis assess agricultural practices, identify processes to be improved and give tools to develop agroecosystems with a degree of entropy compatible with life. The objective of this work was to determine how different energy sources affect a fruit crop and to propose strategies to improve the sustainability of agroecosystems. Energy flux was done for a crop obtained from an organic-biodynamic apple orchard of Red Delicious cultivar 'Top Red'. It was considered that the production responded to a “superior” quality for fresh consumption. Cultural Biological energy was determined with labor costs data used in the orchard and industrial energy through the consumption of oil and electricity. The production system studied had industrial direct energy values of 24,106.57 MJ ha-1 and cultural biological energy values of 449.56, equivalent to 98 and 2% of the total energy input to the orchard, respectively. Dependence on energy subsidies that increased industrial energy can be reduced with the application of different strategies that will be discussed. In the fruit-growing system, total energy revenues are largely retained in the agroecosystem for the structure and maintenance of the “fruit deciduous forest” that sequesters carbon. This could determine lower efficiencies compared to other crops so, not only harvested fruit should be counted in the analysis. Agricultural sustainability is reached by adequate knowledge of ecological processes at farm and regional levels and through socio- economic changes that promote sustainability in all sectors of the food system. The agriculture system should allow appropriate levels of production with the conservation of natural resources considering social, spatial and temporal asymmetries and inequalities in the human use of resources.
Dussi, M.C., Fernández, C. and Flores, L.B. (2020). Energy flux analysis in fruit agroecosystems. Acta Hortic. 1286, 171-178
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1286.24
cultural biological energy, industrial energy, energy subsidies, sustainability, fruit deciduous forest

Acta Horticulturae