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Food Consumption and Nutrient Flows – Nitrogen in Sweden since the 1870s
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Water and Environmental Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Systems Analysis, Integrated Assessment and Modelling (SIAM) Department of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG), in Dübendorf, Switzerland.
Systems Analysis, Integrated Assessment and Modelling (SIAM) Department of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG), in Dübendorf, Switzerland.
2006 (English)In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, Vol. 10, no 4, 61-75 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Changes in food consumption and related processes have a significant impact on the flow of nitrogen in the environment. This study identifies both flows within the system and emissions to the hydrosphere and atmosphere. A case study of an average inhabitant of the city of Linköping, Sweden, covers the years 1870, 1900, 1950, and 2000 and includes changes in food consumption and processing, agricultural production, and organic waste handling practices. Emissions to the hydrosphere from organic waste handling increased from 0.57 kilograms of nitrogen per capita per year (kg N/cap per year) to 3.1 kg N/cap per year, whereas the total flow of nitrogen to waste deposits grew from a negligible amount to 1.7 kg N/cap per year. The largest flow of nitrogen during the entire period came from fodder. The input of chemical fertilizer rose gradually to a high level of 15 kg N/cap per year in the year 2000. The total load per capita disposed of to the environment decreased during these 130 years by about 30%.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 10, no 4, 61-75 p.
Keyword [en]
dynamic modeling, food production, industrial ecology, materials flow analysis (MFA), mathematical materials flow analysis (MMFA), substance flow analysis (SFA)
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13350DOI: 10.1162/jiec.2006.10.4.61OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-13350DiVA: diva2:20410
Available from: 2005-09-02 Created: 2005-09-02 Last updated: 2009-06-04
In thesis
1. Environmental Imprint of Human Food Consumption: Linköping, Sweden 1870 - 2000
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental Imprint of Human Food Consumption: Linköping, Sweden 1870 - 2000
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Human food consumption has changed from the late 19th century to the turn of the millennium, and so has the need for resources to sustain this consumption. For the city of Linköping, situated in southeastern Sweden, the environmental imprint of an average inhabitant’s food consumption is studied from the year 1870 to the year 2000. The average consumer is the driving factor in this study, since changes in food consumption have a direct influence on the environmental imprint. This thesis analyses the environmental imprint of human food consumption from a historical perspective, by applying two different methods. An analysis of the average Swedish food consumption creates the basis for a material flow analysis of nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as a study of the spatial imprint.

Emissions of nitrogen and phosphorus into the hydrosphere have decreased over this period for the system of food consumption and production for an average consumer, while the input via chemical fertilizer has increased significantly. The efficiency of this system could be increased if for instance more phosphorus in human excreta would be reused within the system instead of large deposition and losses into the hydrosphere. The spatial imprint of human food consumption shows, given the changing local preconditions, that less space would be needed for regional production of the consumed food. However, the share of today’s import and thus globally produced food doubles this spatial imprint.

The results of this study show not only a strong influence of the consumption of meat and other animal products on the environmental imprint, but also great potential in the regional production of food. In the context of an increasing urban population, and thus additional billions of people who will live at an increasing distance from the agricultural production land, concern for the direct effects of our human food consumption can be of decisive importance for future sustainable food supply.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2005. 580 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 333
Keyword
food consumption, 19th and 20th century, Sweden, material flow analysis, (MFA), substance flow analysis, nitrogen, phosphorus, spatial imprint, lantbruk, miljöaspekter, livsmedelsindustri, livsmedelskonsumtion, markanvändning, Östergötland, 1800-talet
National Category
Food Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-3592 (URN)91-85299-95-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-09-09, Elysion, Hus T, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2005-09-02 Created: 2005-09-02 Last updated: 2014-09-04Bibliographically approved

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Schmid Neset, Tina-Simone

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