Quantifying the sustainability of economic resource networks: An ecological information-based approach

Kharrazi A, Rovenskaya E, Fath BD, Yarime M, & Kraines S (2013). Quantifying the sustainability of economic resource networks: An ecological information-based approach. Ecological Economics 90: 177-186. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.03.018.

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Abstract

Sustainability as a concept has multiple disparate perspectives stemming from different related disciplines which either maintain ambiguous interpretations or concentrate on metrics pertaining to single aspects of a system. Given the embedded multi-dimensionality of sustainability, systemic approaches are needed that can cope with interactions of different dimensions. Past efforts for measuring sustainability holistically have taken an accounting approach based on the availability and efficiency of resource flows. However, an accounting approach fails to fully incorporate the intensive parameters pertaining to sustainability. An ecological information-based approach is a promising holistic measurement which incorporates both intensive and extensive dimensions of sustainability. This paper evaluates this approach by applying it to six economic resource trade flow networks: virtual water, oil, world commodity, OECD+BRIC commodity, OECD+BRIC foreign direct investment, and iron and steel. From the perspective of biomimicry, it appears that these networks can achieve higher levels of efficiency without weakening their robustness to resource delivery. The trends of measured efficiency and redundancy of the studied networks are demonstrated to be useful in reflecting long term changes while the trend in robustness levels were found to exhibit similar behavior to an ecosystem in its early phase of development.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Economic resource networks; Ecological information theory; Indicators; Robustness; Sustainability
Research Programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)
Bibliographic Reference: Ecological Economics; 90:177-186 (June 2013)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:48
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2016 16:23
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/10453

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