Please wait a minute...
Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2016, Vol. 15 Issue (10): 2426-2436    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(16)61375-8
Soil & Fertilization﹒Irrigation﹒Plant Nutrition﹒ Agro-Ecology & Environment Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Emergy analysis of paddy farming in Hunan Province, China: A new perspective on sustainable development of agriculture
YI Ting1, 2, XIANG Ping-an2, 3
1 Biological Science and Technology College, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha 410128, P.R.China
2 Key Laboratory of Rural Ecosystem Health in Dongting Lake Area of Hunan Province, Changsha 410128, P.R.China
3 Business College of Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha 410128, P.R.China
Download:  PDF in ScienceDirect  
Export:  BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      
Abstract      The multi-functionality of paddy farming has become a hot issue recently. Paddy farming provides numerous ecosystem services that are crucial to human well-being. However, evaluation of the contribution of paddy farming to human well-being usually focus on its economic value, while its non-market services are usually ignored. Only evaluating the market profits or market relative benefits cannot reflect comprehensively the contribution of paddy farming to people’s well-being. This will affect people’s choices for or against paddy farming activities and people’s opt for invest or not invest in it. A comprehensive evaluation of paddy farming can provide an important reference for the government and society to conserve the multi-functionality of paddy farming and achieve sustainable development. To this end, this paper reports a case evaluation of paddy farming in Hunan, the largest rice producing as well as rice yield province in China, and uses emergy theory to make a comprehensive evaluation for paddy farming. The emergy evaluation results of the paddy ecosystem in Hunan are as follows: in 2010, the input emergy of the paddy ecosystem in Hunan is 2.51E+22 sej and the output emergy is 6.31E+22 sej. For the input emergy, the part from natural resources is 1.96E+21 sej and the part from human society is 2.32E+22 sej; for the output emergy, the part from products is 2.22E+22 sej, the part from impositive externality is 4.16E+22 sej and the part from negative externality is –7.41E+20 sej. Taking the non-market outputs into consideration, the gains from the human economic society’s 1 $ input in paddy farming, emergy sustainability index (ESI) and emergy profit rate are respectively 2.73 $, 3.53 and 151.31%. If the evaluation leave out the non-market output, the three indexes are only 0.96 $, 1.24 and 30.67%. The research results show that non-market services of paddy farming contribute significantly to human well-being. Therefore, in order to protect the multi-functionality of paddy farming and achieve the sustainable management, the government should take reasonable measures and make incentive plans.
Keywords:  paddy farming        emergy analysis        ecosystem services        Hunan Province  
Received: 04 November 2015   Accepted:

The project is supported by the National Social Science Fundation of China (11BJY028).

Corresponding Authors:  XIANG Ping-an, Tel: +86-731- 84635091, E-mail:   
About author:  YI Ting, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

YI Ting, XIANG Ping-an. 2016. Emergy analysis of paddy farming in Hunan Province, China: A new perspective on sustainable development of agriculture. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 15(10): 2426-2436.

Agus F, Irawan I, Suganda H, Wahyunto W, Setiyanto A, Kundarto M. 2006. Environmental multiiunctionality of indonesian agriculture. Paddy and Water Environment, 4, 181–188.

Bouwman A F. 1990. Soils and the Greenhouse Effect: The Present Status and Future Trends Concerning the Effect of Soils and Their Cover on the Fluxes of Greenhouse Gas. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Brown M T, McClanahan T R. 1996. Emergy analysis perspectives of Thailand and Mekong River dam proposals. Ecological Modelling, 91, 105–130.

Campbell D E, Brandt-Williams S I, Meisch M E A. 2005. Environmental Accounting Using Emergy: Evaluation of the State of West Virginia. BiblioGov, Washington, D. C.

Campbell D E, Lu H F. 2009. The emergy to money ratio of the United States from 1900 to 2007. In: Brown M T, ed., Emergy Synthesis 5: Theory and Application of the Emergy Methodology. The Center for Environment Policy, Gainesville. pp. 413–448.

Campbell E T, Brown M T. 2012. Environmental accounting of natural capital and ecosystem services for the US National Forest System. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 14, 691–724.

Castellini C, Bastianoni S, Granai C, Bosco A D, Brunetti M. 2006. Sustainability of poultry production using the emergy approach: Comparision of conventional and organic rearing systems. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 114, 336–350.

Cavalett O, de Queiroz J F, Ortega E. 2006. Emergy assessment of integrated production systems of grains, pig and fish in small farms in the South Brazil. Ecological Modelling, 193, 205–224.

Chen D, Chen J, Luo Z H. 2006. Evaluation method of natural water resources based on emergy theory and its application. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 37, 36–40. (in Chinese)

Chen D, Luo  Z H, Webber M, Chen J, Wang W G. 2014. Emergy evaluation of the contribution of irrigation water, and its utilization, in three agricultural systems in China. Frontiers of Earth Science, 8, 325–337.

Coscieme L, Pulselli F M, Marchettini N, Sutton P C, Anderson S, Sweeney S. 2014. Emergy and ecosystem services: A national biogeographical assessment. Ecosystem Services, 7, 152–159.

Crutzen R J. 1983. Atmospheric interactions-homogeneous gas reactions of C, N and S containing compounds. In: Bolin B, Cook R B, eds., The Major Biogeochemical Cycles and Their Interactions. Wiley and Sons, New York. pp. 67–112.

Cui L J, Zhao X S. 2004. Researches on the emergy analysis of Poyanghu wetland. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 24, 168–173. (in Chinese)

Ding X D, Ding D, Li G X.2015. Evaluations on the functional value of coastal wetlands ecosystem services in Shandong Province. Periodical of Ocean University of China, 45, 74–78. ( in Chinese)

Dong Y S, Scharffe D, Domroes M, Qi Y C, Zhang S. 2000. N2O emissions fromagricultural soils in the North China Plain: The effect of chemical nitrogen fertilizer and organic manure. Journal of Environmental Science, 12, 463–468.

ESDNBS (Energy Statistics Department of National Bureau of Statistics). 2013. China Energy Statistical Yearbook. China Statistics Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)

Ehrlich P R, Ehrlich A H. 1981. Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of The Disappearance of Species. Random House, New York.

Gasparatos A. 2011. Resource consumption in Japanese agriculture and its link to food security. Energy Policy, 39, 1101–1112.

Giannetti B F, Demétrio J F C, Bonilla S H, Agostinho F, Almeida C M V B. 2013. Emergy diagnosis and reflections towards Brazilian sustainable development. Energy Policy, 63, 1002–1012.

Hossaini N, Hewage K. 2013. Emergy accounting for regional studies: Case study of Canada and its provinces. Journal of Environmental Management, 118, 177–185.

He G T, Zhu X G, Flinn J C. 1987. A comparative study of economic efficiency of hybrid and conventional rice production in Jiangsu Province, China. Oryza, 24, 285–296.

Hu Q H, Zhang L X, Wang C B. 2011. Emergy-based analysis of two chicken farming systems: A perspective of organic production model in China. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 31, 7227–7234. (in Chinese)

Hu S, Mo X G, Lin Z G, Qiu J X. 2010. Emergy assessment of a wheat-maize rotation system with different water assignments in the North China Plain. Environmental Management, 46, 643–657.

Juan C H, Lo Y L, Tan Z H. 2008. Emergy Analysis on the Multi-Functional Values of Paddies in Taiwan. Culture and Scientific Research Findings of Paddy Field Presentation. Water Resources Management and Policy Research Center, Tamkang University, Taipei. (in Chinese)

Kang D, Park S S. 2002. Emergy evaluation perspectives of a multipurpose dam proposal in Karea. Journal of Enviromental Management, 66, 293–306.

MA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment). 2003. Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington.

Ma LS, Wang Z Q, Zhang S M, Ma X F, Zhang G Y. 1997. Pollution from agricultural non-point sources and its control in river system of Taihu Lake, Jiangsu. Acta Scientiae Circumstantiae, 17, 39–47. (in Chinese)

Min Q W, Xie G D, Hu D, Shen L, Yan M C. 2004. Service valuation of grassland ecosystem in Qinghai Province. Resources Science, 26, 56–60. (in Chinese)

NBSC (National Bureau of Statistics of China). 2011. China Statistical Yearbook. China Statistics Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)

Lai L, Huang X J, Wang H, Dong Y H, Xiao S S. 2009. Estimation of environmental costs of chemical fertilizer utilization in China. Acta Pedologica Sinica, 46, 63–69. (in Chinese )

Lan S F, Odum H T, Liu X M. 1998. Emergy flow and emergy analysis of the agroecosystems of China. Ecology Science, 17, 32–39.

Lan S F, Qin P, Lu H F. 2002. Emergy Analysis of Ecosystems. Chemical Industry Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)

Legg J O, Meisinger J J. 1982. Soil nitrogen budgets. In: Stevenson E J, ed., Nitrogen in Agricultural Soils. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, Madison WI. pp. 503–566.

Li H T, Xu X G, Xiao D N. 2005. Study on the value of ecological capital based on the emergy theory: A case study on the forest ecosystem in the middle part of the north slope of the Tianshan Mountain. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 25, 1383–1390. (in Chinese)

Li M, Zhang X H, Li Y W, Zhang H, Zhao M, Deng S H. 2013. Environment impacts of sewage treatment system based on emergy analysis. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 24, 488–496. (in Chinese)

Li L F, Hui S R, Song H L, Su F L. 2013. Evaluation of the services provided by the Shuangtai estuary wetland in PanJin based on emergy theory. China Environmental Science, 33, 112–116. (in Chinese)

Li Y C, Lin E D, Zhen X L. 2007. Advances in methods of agricultural greenhouse gas inventories. Advances in Earth Science, 22, 92–96. (in Chinese)

Lin Y R. 2007. Application of production function in agricultural put-into-and-out. Mathematics in Practice and Theory, 7, 102–108. (in Chinese)

Lin J P, Fan X P. 2009. Research on the input-output efficiency of fiscal agriculture in China - A case study of land management project in integrated development of agriculture. Economist, 8, 31–36. (in Chinese)

Liu B, Zhang Y Q, Wu B, Wu X Q, Qin S G, Zhang J T. 2015. Estimation of the animal species diversity conservation value of desert ecosystem in China. Science of Soil and Water Conservation, 13, 96–102. (in Chinese)

Liu R T, Xu J Z. 2002. Sewage water irrigion problems and solutions in China. China Water Resources, 10, 123–125. (in Chinese)

Liu X W, Chen B M, Zhang D X. 2004. Emergy analysis of grain production system in Jiangsu and Shaanxi Provinces. Chinese Geographical Science, 14, 209–214.

Lu C G, Zhao Y C. 2013. Empirical study on ecological footprint of China’s import and export trade based on emergy theory. Mathematics in Practice and Theory, 43, 119–125. (in Chinese)

Lu C Y, Lin C Y. 1980. The evapotranspiration and supplementary water requirement of paddy fields in China. Journal of Nanjing University (Natural Sciences), 1, 145–159. (in Chinese)

Lu H F , Lin B L, Campbell D E., Sagisaka M , Ren H. 2012. Biofuel vs. biodiversity? Integrated emergy and economic cost-benefit evaluation of rice-ethanol production in Japan. Energy, 46, 442–450.

Lv C M, Lin M H. 2010. Energy analysis for contribution rate and value of water resources in living. Water Saving Irrigation, 4, 44–47.

Odum H T, Odum E C, Blissett M. 1987. Ecology and Economy: “Emergy” Analysis and Public Policy in Texas. Policy Research Project Report 78. The Office of Natural Resoures and Texas Department of Agriculture, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Odum H T. 1996. Environmental Accounting: Emergy and Environmental Decision Making. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Odum H T, Brown M T, Brandt-Williams S. 2000. Introduction and Global Budget. Folio #1. Handbook of Emergy Evaluation. Center for Environmental Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville.

PDCCDR (Price Department of China Commision of Development and Reform). 2011. National Agricultural Product Cost and Return Data Assembly. China Statistics Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)

Pulselli R M, Ciampalini F, Galli A, Pulselli F M. 2006. Non equilibrium thermodynamics and the city: A new approach to urban studies. Annalidi Chimica, 96 , 543–552.

Qin Z, Zhang J E, Luo S M, Xu H Q, Zhang J. 2010. Estimation of ecological services value for the rice-duck farming system. Resources Science, 32, 864–872. (in Chinese)

Rugani B, Pulselli R M, Niccolucci V, Bastianoni S. 2011. Environmental performance of a XIV Century water management system: An emergy evaluation of cultural heritage. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 56, 117–125.

Sakuyama T. 2005. A decade of debate over non-trade concerns and agricultural trade liberalisation: Convergences, remaining conflicts and a way forward. International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 4, 203–215.

Stapleton L M, Young S D, Crout N M J. 2004. Have missing markets for ecological goods and services affected modelling of terrestrial C and N fluxes?. Ecological Modelling, 179, 569–574.

SBHP (Statistical Bureau of Hunan Province). 2011. Hunan Statistical Yearbook. China Statistics Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)

Su M R , Yang Z F, Chen B. 2011. Limiting factor analysis of urban ecosystems based on emergy - A case study of three cities in the Pearl River Delta in China. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 5, 131–138.

Wang N, Chen K L, Zhang J G, Zhang B L. 2014. Emergy analysis of agricultural eco-economic - A case study of haidong region of qinghai province. In: Bian F L, Xie Y C, eds., Geo-Informatics in Resource Management and Sustainable Ecosystem. Ypsilanti, MI, USA. pp. 593–601.

Wang X L, Han Y, Chen Y Q, Sui P, Gao W S, Wu X, Du C M. 2015. Efficiency and sustainability evaluation of a pollution-free vegetable production system based on emergy analysis. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 35, 2136–2145. (in Chinese)

Xie G D, Lu C X, Leng Y F, Zheng D U, Li S C. 2003. Ecological assets valuation of the Tibetan Plateau. Journal of Natural Resources, 18,189–196. (in Chinese)

Xiong Z Q, Xing G X, Zhu Z L. 2007. Nitrousoxide and methane emissions as affected by water, soil and nitrogen. Pedosphere, 17, 146 –155.

Xi Y G, Qin P. 2006. Emergy value evaluation on rice-duck organic farming mode. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 17, 237–242. (in Chinese)

Yang H L, Lv Y, Min Q W, Zhang D, Jiao W J, He L, Liu S, Sun Y H. 2009. Energy comparison of rice-fish agriculture and rice monocropping: A case study of Xiaohuang village, Congjiang County, Guizhou Province. Resources Science, 31, 48–55. (in Chinese)

Yang F, Qi Z H, Wang J X, Zhou W. 2011. Input-output efficiency evaluation and related factors analysis in rice production. Statistics & Decision, 17, 100–102. (in Chinese)

Yao Z F. 2008. Study of sustainable development of the ecological county based on the emergy theory - The case of Yanling ecological county. MSc thesis, Hunan Agricultural Universityn, China. (in Chinese)

Yoshida K. 2001. An economic evaluation of the multifunctional roles of agriculture and rural areas in Japan. Technical Bulletin, 5, 1–9.

Yu Y C, Wang J. 2010. An evaluation on the ecological benefits from China’s import and export trade based on emergy analysis. Journal of International Trade, 8, 20–28. (in Chinese)

Zhang C R. 2007. Quantitative investigation and economic assessment on flood-mitigation effect for paddy fields. In: Quantitative Analysis of Multi-functionality and Benefit of Paddy Field. Agriculture Commission, Taipei. (in Chinese)

Zhu L P, Li H T, Chen J Q, RanJeet J, Liang T,Yan M C. 2012. Emergy-based sustaninability assessment of Inner Mongolia. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 22, 843–858.

Zhang L X, Ulgiati S, Yang Z F, Chen B. 2011. Emergy evaluation and economic analysis of three wetland fish farming systems in Nansi Lake area, China. Journal of Environmental Management, 92, 683–694.

Zhu X C, Yang Z, Qian K. 2009. Study on mineral resources efficiency base on energy analysis. Journal of Liaoning Technical University (Natural Science), 28, 164–166. (in Chinese)

Zhu Y L. 2010. Study on agro-ecosystem’s sustainable development of Hunan based on the emergy theory.  PhD thesis, Central South University of Forestry & Technology, China. (in Chinese)
No related articles found!
No Suggested Reading articles found!