On Energy and Agriculture: From Hunting-Gathering to Landless Farming

Marchetti, C. (1979). On Energy and Agriculture: From Hunting-Gathering to Landless Farming. IIASA Research Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: RR-79-010

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An energy analysis of agricultural practices shows very coherent patterns of evolution from the Neolithic Age up to this century. All technical advances were in fact exploited toward intensification, and the ratio of food output to energy input was held remarkably constant over such a long stretch of time.

New agricultural practices in developed countries linked to massive energy "subsidies" from fossil fuels have disrupted the trend, substantially altering the ratio. A more rational use of energy in agriculture is going to be necessary when the developing countries adopt these practices. Low-tillage techniques, hormonal and genetic pesticides and herbicides, nitrogen fixing in grains, and other emerging technologies satisfying this contstraint are briefly described and assessed in this paper.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Research Report)
Research Programs: Energy Program (ENP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:45
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:09
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/1027

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