Research Needs for
A BASIC SCIENCE OF THE SYSTEM OF HUMANITY AND NATURE
and Appropriate Technology for the Future
Results of a Workshop at
May 14-16, 1981
Edited by M. T. Brown and H. T. Odum
National Science Foundation
Under Grant #ISP-8014973
Florida Water Resources Research Center,
University of Florida
Energy Analysis Workshop
Center for Wetlands
University of Florida
A map of the landscape mosaic of systems of humanity and nature in
northeast Florida at a scale of 1 inch equals 4 miles. The numbers refer
to landscape systems as follows:
1. Open land
3. Low-density residential
4. Medium-density residential
5. High-density residential
8. Commerical and services
11. Utility and communication
Agriculture and Forestry
12. Improved pasture
14. Citrus groves
15. Nurseries and speciality crops
16. Confined feeding operations
17. Planted pine forests
18. Clear-cut areas
20. Grassy scrub
21. Sand pine scrub
22. Sandhill community
23. Pine flatwood
24. Xeric hammock
25. Mesic hammock
Riverine hardwood swamp
Bay heads and bogs
33. Rivers and streams
34. Lakes and ponds
36. Borrow pit
37. Tidal flat
38. Beach and dune
39. Coastal hammock
40. Salt marsh
42. Spoil bank
43. Medium salinity plankton
44. Oligohaline system
45. Neutral embayment
46. Marine meadow
47. Coastal plankton system
48. High velocity channel
The conclusions, opinions, and recommendations in this report are those of the
authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation
or Florida Water Resources Research Center.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
i. Preface: E. Bryan . . . . . . . . . . . . iii
ii. Summary . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . iv
I. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . ... . . . . . 1
1. Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
2. Background . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
II. CONSENSUS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RESEARCH NEEDS TO FACILITATE
A BETTER PATTERN OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS AND ENVIRONMENTS . . . 5
1. Needs for Research on Principles . . . . . . . . 5
2. Needs for Research on Integrative Role of Water and Aquatic
Subsystems . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
3. Needs for Research on Terrestrial Subsystems Including
Humanity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
4. Needs for Research on Methodology . . . . . . . .. 27
5. Needs for Research on Application . . . . . . . .. 29
6. Needs for Research on Evaluation and Value . . . . .. 31
III. PRESENTATION OF INDIVIDUAL PARTICIPANTS . . . . . . .. 33
1. Organization of Communities and Landscapes into Effective
Patterns of Human Settlement and Environments -
John F. Alexander, Jr . . . . . . . . . .33
2. Ecological Land Use Planning at the University of
Pennsylvania: State of the Art and Threshold -
Jon Berger . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
3. Enhanced Reestablishment of Disturbed Natural Ecosystems -
G. Ronnie Best . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
4. General Theoretical Principles for a Science of the
Landscape Mark T. Brown . . . . . . . . . .. 48
5. Integrating Economics and Ecology and Improved Evaluation
of Alternative Technologies Robert Costanza . . . . .. 62
6. Thoughts on Needed Research Directions Marvin Harris . .. 64
7. Appropriate Technology, Agriculture and Energy -
Richard C. Fluck . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
8. Economics, Values, and Policy Hazel Henderson . . . .. 68
9. Proposal for Conference(s) to Evaluate the Usefulness
of Ecoenergetics for Policy Robert Herendeen . . . .. 73
10. Regional Land Use, Energy, Limiting Factors and Carrying
Capacity Jeffrey M. Klopatek . . . . . . . .. 76
11. The Development of Marginal Areas George A. Knox . . .. 85
12. Appropriate Development as a Function of Regional Capacity:
Appropriate Interfaces Between Humanity and Renewable
Nature for a Time of Energy Conservation -
Mitchell J. Lavine . . . . .............. 92
13. Status of Algal Recycling Systems Edward P. Lincoln . . .. 97
14. Proposal for a National Environmental Lab lan McHarg ..... 106
15. How Do We Define 'Appropriate' in Appropriate Technology
Applications? Ane D. Merriam and Martha Gilliland .... .112
16. An Appropriate Energy Technology for Urban Areas -
W.R. Mixon . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
17. Social Ecology: Harmonizing Humanity and Nature -
James R. Nolfi ................ ... . 138
18. Basic Science of Environment Howard T. Odum . . ... .143
19. Research Priorities to Integrate the NSF Appropriate
Technology Program into Mainstream Development -
Ronald D. Zweig . . . . . . . .... .. .... .148
IV. NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS . . . ... 154
In December of 1979, the National Science Foundation announced the
establishment of an experimental program in Appropriate Technology to be con-
ducted in the Engineering and Applied Science Directorate. For the purpose of
this program, appropriate technologies were defined and characterized by their
amenability to being managed by their users, encouragement of local adaptation
to diverse community needs taking into account locally available natural and
human resources, and which result in solutions that conserve natural and capi-
tal resources in harmony with the environment.
The goals of the program were:
To strengthen the science base needed to identify and develop prom-
ising appropriate technologies which have the potential for general-
ization beyond the initial application and which fall outside the
responsibility or interest of mission agencies.
To improve the understanding of appropriate technology as a concept
in the development of science and technology and to better under-
stand its role and impact on the U.S. society and economy.
The research that NSF has been supporting at the Universities of Florida
and Michigan relating to potential use of wetlands as alternatives to capital
and energy-intensive technologies for removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from
domestic wastewater clearly met this definition and characterization of appro-
The idea of holding a workshop to assist in planning a research program
that would formally recognize the role of the natural landscape in dealing
with complex issues of residuals management emerged from a proposal of more
limited breadth by the Center for Wetlands to conduct research on the wetlands
concept as potentially applied to management of residuals from pulping of
wood, manufacture of paper, leachates from solid-waste land-fills and residues
from mining and processing of phosphate ores. Participants at this workshop
contributed their views on topics of and relating to their primary areas of
interest and participated in discussions that helped structure statements of
research needs that are expected to be of value in development of research
programs that address important environmental issues, and perhaps more impor-
tantly in guiding and influencing individual efforts of scientists and engi-
neers who seek to build a basic, more fundamentally-sound foundation for
understanding and practicing environmental design and engineering in ways
which are consistent and compatible with natural law.
Edward H. Bryan
National Science Foundation
Research recommendations were developed for a science of humanity and
nature by a workshop convened May 1981 in Gainesville, Florida, under contract
number ISP-8014973 between National Science Foundation and the Center for Wet-
lands, University of Florida. Evaluating research needs for appropriate envi-
ronmentally related technology was found dependent on a basic understanding of
the system of environment and human society. Although no generally acceptable
name has yet been found, the participants unanimously recognized a basic sci-
ence of this environmental realm not included in the National Science Founda-
tion's organization of research support. Existing disciplines consider only
parts of this system. Further it was found that this science may have great
potential importance in the long range to national needs by providing knowl-
edge for anticipating successful public policy.
Research needs on principles of the basic science concern the measures
and patterns of hierarchical organization, the way energy signature of envi-
ronmental resources interact with economic and imported resources; the princi-
ples of recycling and interface of human society and environmental compon-
ents; the relationships of frequencies, size, and pattern in landscape; the
nature of growth regression, and the pulsings in the large-scale patterns.
Proposed criteria for success (objective functions) need empirical testing as
to their correlation and ability to predict successful patterns. These cri-
teria, some of which are not mutually exclusive, include: maximum power, maxi-
mum entropy, maximum economic circulation, maximum growth, maximum diversity,
minimum entropic generation, maximum profit, maximum storage, maximum organi-
zation, maximum stability, exergy, and others.
The special integrative role of water requires determination of optimum
patterns of water flow recycling and organization utilizing symbiotic fit of
human use and environmental recycling. Embodied energy of water helps relate
trade-offs in water allocations. Clarification and concrete testing is needed
for new concepts of energy analysis, embodied energy, and correlations of
embodied energy and value. Extensive tables of energy transformation ratios
are needed to test theories of the energy hierarchy within the system of man
and nature and for the practical need of converting data on actual energy into
estimates of energy ultimately required through successive webs of energy
Important synthesis may be developed between principles of economics and
ecology and work on this synthesis needs to be accelerated. Some of this syn-
thesis involves cross application and comparison of measures, methods, matri-
ces, production functions, value criteria, growth projections, and measures of
Whereas the structure of cultural institutions are dependent upon and
control the convergence of resources, harmonious consistency of these is
apparently essential for successful patterns of humanity and nature. The
degree to which the initial conditions, the signature of driving functions of
the environment, and the imports from adjacent society may determine and
predict the patterns of humanity and nature need objective empirical study at
the large scale of the landscape and the longer periods of human history and
In May 1981, under auspices of the National Science Foundation, a group
of scientists, planners, and engineers of broad background met in a workshop
at Gainesville, Florida, to make recommendations on the needs for research in
appropriate environmental technology. It was unanimously recognized that the
understanding of the pattern of humanity, technology, and environment was a
basic science, coming to be recognized broadly outside of the foundation but
being considered within the foundation under various names and temporary pro-
grams. Determining what is appropriate technology, appropriate environmental
planning, appropriate public policy, and other appropriate applications of
science at this scale of size requires better understanding of the principles
of this new basic science of humanity and nature. The participants in the
workshop organized their presentation of research needs under categories of
the Principles, Subsystems, Methodology, Application, and Evaluation.
Because humanity is within this system, the means by which humans relate
to realities of resources, water, energy, and land, and outside markets to
their value and decision system is part of the mechanisms of the system to be
understood. What engineers sometimes called objective functions or best cri-
teria for success are themselves unknowns and an important research area.
Determining by empirical measurement which measures correlate with and predict
surviving systems is a vigorous part of new research excitement using methods
of energy analysis, economic analysis, operations research, and social sci-
ence. When better understood, evaluative data are used to understand and pre-
dict success. These are the means for using science to aid public policy. In
the view of many participants, it is incredible that the potentially most
important basic science in guiding national policy is not recognized as a
permanent basic science section of the National Science Foundation.
The group found the diagram in Fig. 1 useful in showing relationships of
some of the emerging excitement, the relations of science and appropriate
technology and the questions of evaluation and value.
Basic Science--Body of knowledge that provides understanding of the
patterns and processes of a realm of nature.
Basic Science of the System of Humanity and Nature---Whereas everyone
present agreed there was a science of this realm of the universe, they also
agreed that there was no appropriate name yet for this science. The following
names were suggested as synonyms by the various participants, although often
without much enthusiasm: Landscape Science; Environmental Science; Spatial
Ecology; Adaptive Engineering and Science; Applied Ecology; Regional Ecology;
S STRENGTHEN LINK
Interrelationships of emerging areas of study in the new science of
the landscape. Supplied by Robert Herendeen..
Social Ecology; Ecoenergetics; Environomics; Ecosystematics; Science of
Many existing disciplines deal with parts of this realm such as econom-
ics, geography, sociology, ecology, water resources, forestry, geology, plan-
ning, limnology, marine and estuarine science, etc., but everyone agreed that
these disciplines did not deal with the combined system of humanity and
Appropriate Technologies--As defined by the National Science Foundation
are those technologies which are decentralized, require low capital invest-
ment, conserve natural resources, are managed by their users, and are in
harmony with the environment. What has been lacking in the past has been the
development and articulation of an integrated basic science from which these
appropriate technologies can be derived. The appropriate technologies that
presently exist have in fact proceeded from this body of knowledge but in no
way have the disparate elements been collated and organized into a body of
fundamental principles. Such a process is of primary importance in order to
more rapidly develop and understand these technologies for their application
in real-life social and economic contexts.
In the last two decades some of the most important growing points in
science have been in areas that do not fit comfortably within the traditional
scientific disciplines. Such developments are truly transdisciplinary in
character and their needs cannot be met solely by interdisciplinary coopera-
tion. One such convergence involves scientists working in the diverse areas
of environmental engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, planning,
water resources, ecology, systems ecology, energy analysis, energetic, econ-
omics, social science.
The development of this basic science at this particular point in time
represents the coexistence of three factors. Increasingly, since World War
II, we have become aware of effects of population growth, radiation, resource
limits, economic concentration, toxic waste and other pollution effects, and a
family of problems that indicate human impact on natural systems of a signifi-
cant scale. At the same time, traditional sciences based on a reductionist
paradigm appear inadequate for prediction and the development of solutions to
these problems. This derives from the inherent inability of each isolated
science to see beyond the boundaries of the discipline in the face of problems
of considerable breadth and complexity. A new paradigm based on the study of
natural and other systems has the potential to provide more thoroughgoing
analysis and more comprehensive solutions to these perceived problems. Addi-
tionally, the development of hardware and software for automatic storage and
processing of large amounts of information on human society and the rest of
the natural world have made possible the integration of this information into
dynamic analysis and modeling. Thus, we are presented with demanding social
concerns, failure of traditional approaches, and the beginning of theoretical
understanding and methodologies for addressing such problems.
Out of this convergence some general principles are emerging concerning
man-nature interactions and the structure and organization of the large sys-
tems in which these interactions are embedded. There is an urgent need for
the recognition of this development as a legitimate basic science activity and
for the channeling of adequate funds into this area in order to maintain
momentum and insure that the science is applied to the important processes of
decision making and the planning of landscapes and resource utilization.
As new principles of landscape organization are developed and tested in
the scientific community, they will find application in the design professions
such as planning, engineering, architecture, and landscape architecture. The
design professions are currently driven by relatively detailed scientific
principles but are lacking when it comes to evaluation or understanding of the
effect of design on the next larger system. The principles of the landscape
will also apply to the technological solution society applies to its many
problems. For example, a better understanding of the principles of landscape
organization would aid in deciding to what extent the use of natural systems
is appropriate in solving critical problems of society such as waste recycle.
CONSENSUS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RESEARCH NEEDS TO FACILITATE
A BETTER PATTERN OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS AND ENVIRONMENTS
Of primary importance is the need to refine the general science of the
landscape that may aid in predicting the mosaic of ecosystems and land uses of
humanity that best maximizes regional economies and quality of life under
differing outside energy constraints. A general consensus is the
determination of the most effective patterns of water and land use cycles and
methods for evaluating which patterns are most effective. While it is
recognized that water is an integral part and cannot be separated (as for so
long it has been) from overall processes of landscapes; recommendations are
developed separately because of its special nature and primary importance.
Specific recommendations for needed research in the science of landscape
are given for six areas considered to be of primary concern:
1. General theoretical principles.
2. Integrative role of water and aquatic subsystems.
3. Landscape mosaic of terrestrial subsystems including humanity.
4. Methodology for predicting and assessing temporal and spatial
organization of landscapes.
5. Application of principles, methods, and evaluation techniques.
6. Techniques of evaluation.
Needs for Research on General Theoretical Principles
Develop theoretical principles of the landscape as a whole that aid in
understanding processes and functions and what constitutes good interfaces of
humanity and nature. Since a large part of the landscape mosaic, its driving
functions, and internal processes fall outside the monied economy, much
research is needed to develop unifying concepts that will incorporate what in
the past were separate theories in economics, geography, sociology, and
Energy and its role in the environment as a determinant of structure and
function may be a unifying concept and common denominator. Some basic
concepts and theories of energy flow and control of landscapes and research
needs pertinent to each follow.
Systems operate under the constraints of the First and Second Laws of
Thermodynamics and Lotka's Maximum Power Principle (Lotka 1922) and
corollaries as proposed by Odum (1975) and Odum and Odum (1976) and are
organized in a manner to remain competitive and stable and increase inflowing
energy when excess energy is available.
As systems concentrate energy and build storage, gradients of potential
energy are created at each level of concentration; but, at the same time, much
energy is degraded at each level as a necessary by-product of production.
Thus less and less potential energy is available at each level to support
successive levels; and a hierarchy may emerge as a consequence of the "Law of
Degradation of Energy."
A basic question pertinent to understanding the organization of the
landscape and that follows from the law of degradation of energy is "what
relationship, if any, exists between the total energy inflowing to a system
and the distribution of that energy amongst the levels within the system?"
Energy Quality and Embodied Energy
Quality of energy is related to the degree to which it is concentrated;
with dilute energies like sunlight, winds, waves, and other natural energies
having lower quality than the more concentrated energies of fossil fuels.
The quality of an energy is derived from the embodied energy of flows and
storage that are the result of the convergence property of systems. Energy
quality factors (transformation ratios) are defined as the ratio of heat
energy produced by a system to the total energy utilized to power the system.
As energies are converged in landscapes, less heat equivalent energy is
producedin successive levels as energy is dissipated at each level. The
embodied energy at each level is the total energy that powers the entire
system; thus the ratio of embodied energy to heat equivalent energy (quality
factor) increases with each successive level in the hierarchy.
Under the constraints of the Maximum Power Principle, a theoretical
relationship between the costs and the effect of an energy is related to its
quality. The Maximum Power Principle suggests that systems that maximize
their flows of energy survive in competition, and that surviving systems are
those that can generate inflows of energy at least equal to the costs of doing
so. Therefore, in the long run, the costs of upgrading an energy must at
least equal its effect in causing to inflow more energy.
The quality of many energies and materials need to be calculated from
embodied energy and related to position in regional landscapes.
The Convergence and Divergence of Energy in Landscapes
Complex systems not only concentrate energy in the landscape, but
disperse energy as well through divergence of feedbacks and control actions.
Inflowing energy is concentrated and converged in successive levels of
landscapes as storage of high-quality energy, and is fed back in dispersing
actions from higher levels to lower ones. In general, as energies are stored
and become more concentrated through landscape convergence, they occupy less
area, but their spatial effect becomes greater. The convergence and
divergence of energy in webs of energy flow result in a hierarchical
organization of landscape mosaics. Understanding the hierarchical properties
of landscape organization and resulting energy spectral distributions may lend
insight and help predict landscape organization with different outside energy
Energy Spectral Distributions of Landscapes as Hierarchies
The complex landscape of multiple levels of processes appears to be
organized in webs of energy flow. However, it may be simplified as an energy
chain where energy is transformed in series. In each step some energy is
used, some is dispersed, and some energy is upgraded in quality and passed on
to the next unit in the chain. The organization of complex systems in a hier-
archy of energy flow and control action feedbacks may be a fundamental princi-
ple of all systems of man and nature.
A theory of hierarchical organization of landscapes suggests that land-
scapes are organized in hierarchical fashion to increase total power flow by
cascading energy up the chain and control actions back down. Low-quality
energies are concentrated, increasing their quality, and passed on to the next
step in the chain. An energy spectrum results that has many downstream com-
ponents and fewer and fewer upstream components. When graphed, as an energy
spectrum, the organization exhibits a declining exponential function when
energy per unit is plotted against the number of units having that energy
If additional higher quality energy sources are available in the environ-
ment, then systems develop whose energy sources are a mixture of high and low
quality, and the hierarchical distribution of components may shift, emphasiz-
ing these new energies. The smooth hierarchy associated with simple landscape
systems powered by renewable energies may give way to a more complex hierarchy
where greater amounts of structure at the end of the energy chain may be sup-
ported. Hierarchical organization of systems may be a form of specialization
that enables the development of high-quality storage that when fed back have
higher amplifier values than their cost. Thus hierarchical organization may
enhance the total systems ability to increase energy inflow and remain adapted
When regional landscapes are organized as a hierarchy of components,
higher quality energy sources such as fossil fuels and the goods derived from
them are seen to inflow and interact at levels in the hierarchy where their
quality nearly matches the quality of the components at that level. Models of
regional landscapes are needed that incorporate this feature and the theoreti-
cal models to test the theory that energy spectral distributions are altered
significantly when secondary high-quality energies are introduced into hier-
Energy Quality and Frequency of Energy Sources
A theory that relates the pulses of energy sources to structure of land-
scape systems suggests that the embodied energy quality of an energy is
related to its frequency in the time domain; and further that frequency and
place in landscape are related to the extent that high frequency is associated
with low place (i.e., natural ecological systems) and low frequency with high
place (i.e., urban systems).
Theory suggests that systems and components of systems may be adapted to
certain frequencies of energy inflow and that the magnitude and frequency of
energies in the environment may be of fundamental consequence in selecting
which systems survive the test of time. Examples of adaptation to differing
frequencies are common. Ecosystems and associated structure that live in
areas of daily tidal influence show many adaptations to the frequency of
tidal exchange. Seasonal frequencies in temperate climates control behavior
of animal population, select for certain plant species and select against
One mechanism for adaptation to certain frequencies of energy inflow may
be the relative time constant of systems. Systems and components of systems
with very short time constants in general are associated with high-frequency
energy inflows, while the reverse is true for systems with long time
constants. Components of systems at different levels in hierarchies may be
adapted to certain frequencies of energy inflow as a consequence of their time
constants. The general trend is for time constants to increase with
increasingly higher order in the landscape.
Adaptation to high frequency may be easier than adaptation to low
frequency for high-frequency energies are believed to be low in quality and
magnitudes of energies tend to be lower. Thus systems with long time
constants "perceive" high frequency as relatively constant inflow, but very
low-frequency inflow may be perceived as less predictable and "pulsing" in
character. Alexander (1978) has suggested that energies that are considered
catastrophic are those with very low frequency such as earthquakes, volcano
eruptions, floods, and hurricanes and suggests that adaptation to less
predictable pulses such as these are less common than adaptation to higher
frequency energy inflows.
Investigations of the relationship of frequency to energy quality and the
time constants of components in landscapes may lend insight into the
"filtering" capacity of landscape organization and a fuller understanding of
stress affect of low-frequency, high-quality energies like floods, hurricanes,
war, and earthquakes.
Energy Quality and Power Density
One measure of the intensity of energy utilization in the landscape is
power density, or the rate of energy flow per unit area (Cal/acre-year). In
this manner, the energy intensity of one area can be compared on a relative
scale with others. In urban systems, power density is considered to be the
rate of embodied energy consumption per unit area, and in natural ecological
systems of the landscape power density is the rate at which energy is fixed,
as measured by gross primary production.
While it may seem that two different measures of power are being applied
here it must be remembered that it is embodied energy that is being
considered, and that there is no difference between production and
consumption. That is to say, if one expressed the output of any process in
equivalent energies of the input, then production is equal to the embodiment
of all input energies.
High-power densities are only possible where there are sufficient
high-quality energies inflowing to sustain them. Thus, the degree of
complexity and amount of structure per unit area is in direct proportion to
the amount of high-quality energy available. Due to the convergence of
energies in hierarchies, less and less total structure is associated with
higher levels, but the structure in each level is of a higher quality.
Energy Quality and Transport Costs
In general, as the quality of energies increases their concentration
increases as well. One theory suggests that transportation costs decrease
with increasing quality of energy as suggested by their increasing
concentration. Since the embodied energy in a good or energy is believed to
be a measure of the quality of that good or energy, it follows that as
embodied energy per unit of good or energy increases, the energy costs of
transportation per unit decreases. Theory suggests, then, that the greater
the embodied energy in a good or energy, the greater is the range of the good
or energy, where range is defined as the distance over which the good or
energy is transported to point of end use.
Ranges of transport for many goods may be related to the quality of the
goods, based on a theory of value of effect (utility) rather than on a theory
of minimizing costs. The embodied energy of goods is strongly related to the
concept of market area as enunciated by Christaller (1966) for different order
goods originating from different order central places.
Research Needs on the Integrative Role
of Water and Aquatic Subsystems
Humanity's curiosity about, attraction to, and study of water resources
are as old as civilization. The Roman aqueducts channeled water from the pro-
ducing watersheds to their people, the Chinese culture coevolved with their
intensive agriculture accelerated by irrigation efforts, the Seminole Indians
were noted for their close living association with the swamplands in the
southeastern United States, and modern cities across the landscape have risen
in direct relationship with available supplies, flows, and uses of water
Yet, even with the combined knowledge and wisdom gleaned through histor-
ical cohabitation with the earth's water resources, we still find ourselves
grappling with water-dominated dilemmas. Building in floodplains, infrequent
recycling of wastewater, antiquated and energy intensive irrigation tech-
niques, and the catastrophic social disruption of floods, hurricanes, and
droughts continue to plague our major and minor cities around the globe. In
fact, we are just beginning to understand the value of our wetlands in the
natural and human-altered options for water management. The result has been a
renewed public statement of the values, problems, and needs of water as a
major part of the human condition.
With many research funds drying up and existing ones under intense scrut-
iny, we have developed a grouping of the major topical areas requiring addi-
tional and immediate study. Additionally we enumerated several specific study
items for each of the seven major topics.
Our groupings and lists were developed with the understanding that some
research needs and water problems are very specific in nature, localized in
design and impact; while other research needs and water concerns are more glo-
bal in scope and ultimately in application. It is the interaction and mixing
of the theoretical, global perspectives with the more specific and isolated
case studies that often produces the most applicable information in the realm
of water research. The lessons learned in history and anthropology could
with an engineering and scientific perspective may result in a more meaningful
water research endeavor, with the multivaried world of application to local
communities and policy making at each governmental level then possible.
Therefore we chose not to separate the water research needs into the more
traditional areas of theory, engineering, application, and evaluation based on
a major premise in this emerging new science that water by its very nature as
a conductor, transporter, and organizer transcends conventional research
levels. In the interest of ultimate applications, we chose to reflect the
research needs into seven general topical headings. The headings would each
have some research items under them that would be more focused on methodology,
theory or principle development, application, evaluation techniques, etc. But
the topical headings represent a higher level of organization of needs in
water research, which we suggest better reflects the natural and physical
nature of the resource water.
The seven topical headings for water research needs include:
-Water and the organization of landscapes;
-Water systems that interface production and human services;
-Wetland management systems;
-Principles for optimum uses of water and energy;
-Benefits of disasters;
-What feedbacks maximize the value of water landscape systems;
-Ways of measuring the value of water.
For each of the topical headings above a general discussion follows, with
some specific examples of research needs and their potential applications.
Additionally, Table 1 is presented at the end referencing where some specific
studies might satisfy several topical interests.
Water and the Organization of Landscapes
Water is one of the principal ways in which landscapes are organized and
controlled. Where human roles are least, hierarchies of water convergence
develop as recognized in the Horton stream classification. Human economic
activity often reorganizes the landscape with water projects that incorporate
additional energy and economic inputs to the area in new patterns. As trans-
portation energies decline, the control of water may become the most important
way that landscapes are organized to form workable patterns of humanity and
Quantitative studies of data on landscapes from satellites, from statis-
tics, and through models can verify theories that human settlements are concen-
trated at the convergence of high-quality environmental energies and important
high-quality information and energy from outside. If spatial patterns and
frequencies of various human activities are predictable from energy distribu-
tions, important predictions and better plans may result. Maximum economic
vitality may result from water utilization and recycling that help eliminate
limiting factors. Optimal water systems may eliminate wastes by routing these
as resources to alternative activities of humanity or ecosystems that can gain
from the use. Organizational principles for water and landscape may include
certain percentages of the area for wetlands, for water collection, and for
intensive water usages.
Understanding the sculpturing nature of water in its interaction with
human systems suggests that fully integrated hydrologic models, and an inven-
A structure of this kind of end use, site specific cost/benefit analysis
can help in determining appropriate technologies requiring a water supply to
be implemented in local development. And ultimately in these investigations
the multiple nature of the value of water may be better understood.
Specific research items would include:
--Evaluations of the value of water for competitive uses, including
embodied energy, dollar prices, and consequences of the uses.
-Development of a table of factors and principles governing the
uses of water in a given landscape condition or under different
--Development of the value of water-dominated pulsing events, such
as flooding and droughts.
--Correlation of principles of water movement to areas of lower and
higher energy qualities.
Table 1. Specific research topics and their relationship to seven major
areas for needed water research.
Water conservation and cycling and recycling b
Models of hydrologic cycle a
Water use management for minimum water availability
-drought conditions b d
Contingency planning times for flood and drought as re-
lated to both the economic and environmental needs d e
Beneficial effects of flooding e
Stress on planted vs. natural vegetation in plantings c
Evaluate the value of water for competitive use:
embodied energy; dollar price; consequences of uses g
Interregional water transfer and maximize values such
as Suwannee River movement a b d
Water as a control of land use a f
Effect of energy on water use energy for irrigation,
pipeline slurries d
Value of aridity and adapted arid systems--not turning
them into water demand areas-reclamation for
example a f
Microbial decomposers: photosynthetic bacteria b
Global fixation of nitrogen fixation and relation to
Question of breeding stock with aquaculture b
Freshwater needs of estuaries b c f
Marsh recharge of aquifer rather than sea discharge b d
Recycling to minimize denitrification b
Need a table of factors and rules for beneficial land-
scape use of water f g
Need energy quality factors (energy transformation
ratios) for water in its various states f g
Getting basic data for energy analysis of water problems b
Semiclosed microecosystem rates of productivity and
Management tactics for semiclosed microecosystems b
Minimum information required for management of an eco-
system and its water budgets c
Relation of use of water to the hierarchical distribu-
tion of water in the landscape a
Relative tradeoff between complexity-diversity and the
technological management b
How to plant a wetland in the absence of one c
How to manage water by hydroperiod control of wetlands c e
Which wetlands save water and which transpire more than
the usual vegetation c
Are settlements of human activity concentrated at con-
vergences of environmental energies a
Table 1. (continued)
Is there a correlation between period of pulsed events
(like floods) and the embodied energy of that event
What are the benefits of events like floods usually
regarded as catastrophic, particularly in the
longer range effects on larger scale
What is the role of sulfur and potassium; sulfur is
sometimes a limit and sometimes lethal as h2s;
potassium may be limiting
What is the lifetime of a virus caught in a wetland
How are wetlands managed for crops clear cut
Exotic management for resource production limitations
on reclamation where conditions are new
Arrested succession for lack of appropriate succes-
sional species cost of planting wetlands
What implementing organization and rule for implementa-
tion of a land and water management recommendation
Acid rains effect on wetlands what is effect of nutri-
ents as weathering or leaching soils causing
Dry or wetland crops in order to save soil; keeping
soils wet putting sewage recycle on peatlands alter-
As fertilizer and energy is less rotation required is
more to catch nutrients and eliminate insects
Anaerobic mechanisms in wetland aquatic systems
Is there a principle of moving high-quality items to
lower or vice versa. Do people move to energy
Need regional predictive models to assign water that
maximize economy needs that predict water along with
In recycling systems what concentration what ratio of
nutrients to land area and sunlight in recycles
What conditions have succession and substitution of
Optimal nutrient loading rates for wetlands and other
b c d f
aWater and the organization of landscape.
bWater systems that interface production and human services and uses.
CWetland management systems.
principles for optimum uses of water and energy.
eBeneficial roles and opportunities of disaster.
fWhat feedbacks maximize value of water-landscape systems.
gWays of measuring value of water.
Needs for Research on the Landscape Mosaic of Terrestrial
Subsystems Including Humanity
The landscape mosaic is composed of four basic categories of subsystems.
The first type is driven primarily by natural energies like sunlight, wind,
rain, tides, and waves. Another type includes those subsystems dominated by
humanity and driven by nonrenewable energies like coal, oil, natural gas, and
nuclear energy. The third type includes subsystems that are driven by
combinations of nonrenewable and renewable energies. And the fourth category,
interface subsystems, is driven by renewable energies and periodically by
wastes from subsystems dominated by humanity.
Generally, these subsystems are considered landuses. The first subsystem
category includes the natural landuses of forests, marshes, swamps, and prairies.
The second category has the urban landuses of industry and commerce, the third
covers the landuses of agriculture, forestry, housing and recreation. And the
fourth category includes the landuses of waste-dumps, landfills, and other
systems that receive the wastes of humanity. While commonly considered as
landuses, all these subsystems may also be seen as spatial manifestations of
the flows of energy that organize and control landscape processes.
Much is known about various aspects of each of these four categories
of landscape subsystems. From ecological and biological research we have gained
an understanding of many attributes of natural ecosystems, economics,
geography and sociology, and have lent insight into the processes of urban
subsystems; agronomy and other agricultural sciences have helped to increase
yields, and minimize losses in agricultural subsystems; and engineering and
environmental science have developed technologies to minimize the impacts
associated with waste release to the environment. However, while much is known
about various aspects of each of the parts of the landscape, very little is
known about how the parts fit together into an integrated and organized landscape
The landscape mosaic of any region is the result of the interaction of
renewable energies with storage of soils and geologic features, and the
actions of humanity and associated nonrenewable energies. As the influence of
humanity increases in a region the portion of lands in each of the four
classifications changes. Urban and agricultural lands increase, as do the
subsystems that receive the wastes from them; while the areas of natural lands
In the past, when the proportion of natural lands was far greater than
those lands dominated by the activities of humanity, little attention was paid
to the interrelationships and interconnections of the various subsystems of the
landscape. Now, however, as we move towards the twenty-first century and
possible energy and resource (especially land) limitations, much more attention
must be given to understanding the landscape as a whole system of natural and
urban lands that include humanity.
Six major topics for needed research for understanding the landscape
mosaic are outlined with specific questions and research needs listed for each.
The six major topics for research are as follows:
Principles on the general organization of landscape mosaics
Structure and function in ecological systems
Pathways of exchange between landscape subsystems
Regeneration and recycle in landscape subsystems
Optimum uses of land and energy
Competing uses in landscape mosaics.
For each of the topical headings above, a general discussion follows, with
specific recommendations for needed research given for each. The discussion
that follows is limited to terrestrial subsystems;however, it is recognized
that water and its role as a major organizing and controlling force in
landscape processes is of prime importance of such importance that it is
treated separately in the proceeding section.
Principles on the General Organization of Landscape Mosaics
The need to understand and to predict the patterns of landscape
organization as a result of changing external conditions suggests that there
is a great need for research on general principles of landscape organization.
The following questions indicate directions that research on general
principles need take. Many organization principles exist in the various
scientific fields, and a main thrust of the proposed research should be to
determine which might be appropriate as a means of furthering understanding
of landscape processes and organization as a whole. What are the controlling
influences on spatial organization? What part do external driving energies
play in determining structure and organization in landscapes? Are there some
basic principles of spatial aggregation that will help in predicting the spatial
organization of the landscape as a result of changing conditions? To what
extent can energy spectra and hierarchies help to understand the spatial
organization of landscapes? What is the relationship of size of a unit in the
landscape and its position in the landscape hierarchy, and can this concept
be used to predict landscape organization?
Controlling Influences of Spatial Organization. While it is recognized
that water is a major organizing force in the landscape, other forces may be
of equal importance. Among these are social and cultural forces that shape
the way in which lands are used, economic forces that limit distances traveled
and restrict utilization of resources, geologic and ecologic processes that shape
landscapes and concentrate and disperse resources, and the forces of external
energies that drive local processes and limit the amount of structure.
External Energies and Control of Landscape Organization. Using an energy
signature as a means of classifying landscapes may be one way to predict
landscape organization in areas of new development. By quantifying types of
inflowing energy to a region a characteristic signature may be generated that
when compared with other regions of known development intensity and inflowing
energies that are similar may indicate the development potential and spatial
organization of growing regions.
Calculation of investment ratios (ratio of nonrenewable energies to
renewable energies) for regions may be a means of classifying regions as to
their development potential, and indicate what levels of development may be
economic in the long run.
Spatial Aggregation and Landscape organization. As regions grow, new
units of industrial, commercial, residential, and agricultural landuses are
incorporated into the existing pattern. The geographic placement of these new
units may be such that most will "agglomerate" around existing concentrations
of urbanization, while a much smaller number will be dispersed into the larger
region. Thus, concentrations of economic activity develop instead of a
homogeneous "plane". It is important to understand the forces that control
the growth processes of regions not only to predict the spatial growth of
landscapes when energies are rich, but to lend insight into the processes of
spatial reorganization when energies are limited and growth ceases or declines.
Also of importance and in need of much research is the principle that as
units of the landscape grow, at some point, rather than double the size of
the existing unit, a second unit is generated. Efficiency may come into play
as the larger unit may be less efficient than a second one of equal size.
Energy Spectra Hierarchies and the Organization of Landscapes. When units
of the landscape (i.e., cities, ecosystems, landuses, etc.) are graphed as energy
spectra, a hierarchy emerges where there are many small, low energy units and
fewer and fewer large, high energy units. The spatial influence is such that
large units have the largest spatial effect, while smaller units have small
Understanding the hierarchical properties and energy spectra of landscape
mosaics may be an important means of predicting the overall organization of
landscapes as well as the reorganization as a result of changing energy and
Structure and Function in Ecological Systems. Particular subsystems are
known to exist given certain environmental conditions. Categorization of
ecosystem type by regions of temperature, rainfall, etc., has been attempted
by various researchers. In these attempts, however, average values were
generally considered and possible ranges. Of critical concern in determination
of ecosystem character are the extremes such as long term floods and droughts.
These are not disasters in the sense used below, but normal components of the
environmental input. Research needs to be done on quantification of this
relationship between input stream and resulting ecosystem. Some measure of
variance may be important. 'Harmonic' type influences (a long, hot, windy
summer) may be critical.
Quantification of these factors would lend much insight into the use of
interface ecosystems (see below). An understanding of the long-term relationship
between surface water inflow and ecosystem structure and function in a forested
wetland, for example, will allow a more objective appraisal of plans to increase
or decrease water levels in swamps.
Pathways of Exchange Between Landscape Subsystems.
The exchange of energy and resources is a basic process of the landscape.
Resources and energy that are in abundance in one area are exchanged with other
areas for scarce commodities. Many pathways exist, however, where there are
no return "services" or materials received in exchange; such as when sewage
wastes are released to the environment, or wastes are concentrated in landfills.
The imports and exports"of energy and resources in regional systems forms the
basis for regional economies. Theory suggests that exchanges of energy and
resources should follow predictable patterns where a "balance" of trade is
maintained as each region or system receives relatively equal value. However,
when traded energies and resources are evaluated in embodied energy terms,
(embodied energy is the total energy that is required to produce a good or
energy), it is often found that environmental resources have a much higher
ratio of embodied energy to price than do finished products, and that dollar
payments are incorrect as a measure of trade value to economies.
Basic questions and research needs that are concerned with the exchange
pathways of energy and resources are as follows:
Can cities, regions, and ecosystems be classified as to their position
in the landscape hierarchy by evaluating what percent of total overall
production (or economic activity in the case of cities and regions) is from
exports/imports? Energy converges in the landscape from large areas of dilute
energy to smaller areas of higher energy concentration. At each higher level
in the hierarchy, more production is traded with external "markets" to maintain
balance of trade. Place in the landscape hierarchy may be determined by
evaluating percent of total production that is exported.
What is the embodied energy in wastes, and can the environmental effects
of waste products be predicted from embodied energies?
Using embodied energy measures, can the power of international relations
be measured by evaluating the total energy embodied in productive processes
Regeneration and Recycle in Landscape Subsystems
Self regeneration of landscape mosaics is a natural, continual process.
However, as the scale of disturbance increases, the rate of regeneration is
altered, often well beyond acceptable limits. Research is needed to achieve
a better understanding of the balance needed between natural succession,
enhanced succession, and restoration of landscape mosaics that maximize
effective use of energy.
Disorder is a basic process of all systems; even the disordering effects
of disasters. When the scale of disordering energies are greater than those
that order (or build) a system, a loss of ordered structure results. Natural
disasters such as hurricanes, volcanoes, landslides, floods, etc., are pulses
of energy that while considered disasters, may in the long run increase
productivity and maximize power in the areas affected. Theory suggests that
all systems have pulsing energy influences that may help to maximize power
by releasing resources for recycle and tearing down old structure that provides
space for new more efficient structure.
Research is needed on the pulsing nature of disordering energies, and the
timing of disasters. What are the magnitudes and frequency of pulses of
disordering energy that maximize power for subsystems of differing size,
complexity, and production?
Regeneration of disturbed lands after mining, agriculture, clear cutting,
and other disturbances is an area needing much research. In this research,
important questions are: What is the relationship between magnitude of
disturbance and energy needed for restoration? What is the net yield with
regard to the investment of energy and return of lands to productive functions?
What is the investment ratio (ratio of fossil fuel energy to natural energy)
of differing reclamation and restoration alternatives as compared to rates of
recovery? What ecosystem components are essential for enhancing ecological
succession and more rapid recovery of different reclamation and restoration
alternatives? What is the desired balance between different landscape
subsystems to achieve a functioning landscape mosaic?
Not only is the recycle of lands, materials, and energy achieved through
the "destructive" influence of outside disordering energies; but recycle is
also achieved through normal processes of growth, decay, and regrowth. The
interface of cultural systems and natural systems through the pathways of
waste recycle are needed areas of research. What natural processes can be
utilized to assimilate waste products generated from cultural or urban subsystems?
Research is needed in the area of sewage recycled directly into agroecosystems
and aquacultural systems and indirectly by treatment processes such as
composting, algae ponds and solar drying. Research is needed in the additional
Solid waste recycle toxic and radioactive wastes, concentrated large
Agricultural wastes concentrated and dispersed (or non-point) sources.
Airborne effluents adsorptive, absorptive, and buffering capacity of
natural systems to common airborne effluents.
A major concern, as with all technology, is the real energy and economic
costs and benefits that may be the result of recycle of wastes through natural
systems. Therefore, a strong need exists to measure the real energy and
economic costs and evaluate the energy and economic benefits of processing
residuals through natural systems.
Optimum Uses of Land and Energy
The availability of rich supplies of energy has changed the patterns of
land use over the last few decades. It is now characterized by more intensive
utilization of lands accompanied by extensive subsidy of nonrenewable energy.
Research needs in the area of optimum uses of land and energy need to address
issues of changing availability of energy and resources and the consequent
changes in the patterns of land use. Of particular importance is the issue of
As a result of more intensive utilization of agricultural land and the
increased dependence on commercial fertilizers, top soil losses from prime
lands have increased to alarming rates. It has been suggested that at current
rates of usage, soils will be depleted long before the fossil fuels. When
energy inputs to agricultural production are expressed as embodied energy of the
same type, the input (and loss) of the embodied energy in soils far exceeds
other inputs from fuels, machinery, and labor.
Research concerning alternative agricultural practices of crop rotation
systems that fix nitrogen, inter-cropping and multiple cropping, composting,
periods of intense cropping followed by fallow periods, use of native species
instead of high energy hybrid species, and maintenance of natural area as
gene pool reservoirs are much needed.
Less intensive methods of forestry must be investigated. Minimally-
managed ecosystems can yield high quality timber on a long rotation basis
while also providing the many free services of a natural forested ecosystem.
The long rotation times of this type of forestry might be well suited to a
low- or no-growth economy, with no extensive building booms.
The role of natural lands as buffer systems, potential waste recycle sites,
water storage facilities, filters for the maintenance of water quality, and
gene pool reservoirs are all very important areas for needed research.
Evaluative techniques are needed to determine overall "value" of natural
systems left undisturbed versus clear cutting, strip mining, or development.
The contribution of natural lands to the overall economy may be determined
using energy analysis and compared to potential yields from any of the various
development alternatives. An important question relating to the roles of
natural lands as mentioned above is: "What mosaic of natural and developed
lands best maximized the contributions to regional economies stemming from the
free services of natural lands?"
Competing Uses in Landscape Mosaics
While competition is a basic process of functional components within the
landscape, some competition may have destructive potential and result in
disruption of overall processes of the landscape. Understanding causes,
consequences, and the place of competition in the organization of landscape
mosaics is an important area of needed research.
Areas of needed research are as follows:
Energy gradients and resulting competition at interfaces
Density of solar uses and competition for solar energy
Exotics versus natural forests and the role of exotics in new situations
Competition for water, land, and energy to maximize regional values
Adaptation of communities to prevailing ecological conditions in
Gradients of Energy Use. When the densities of energy utilization within
a landscape are mapped spatially, in many situations sharp gradients appear
between areas of low energy density and higher density (such as the "ecotone"
between forest and prairie, water, and land, industrial landuses and residential
landuses, etc.). At these interfaces, or energy gradients, there is competition
for available land, and resources. Understanding these gradients, their effects
on total power, and their disruptive effects when not planned for may help in
designing regional landscapes.
Competition for Solar Energy. Whenever alternative energy sources are
discussed, one of the primary hopes for future energy supplies is the conversion
of solar energy to other useful forms. The resulting reorganization of the
concentrations of human systems in a solar based economy need much research.
The dilute nature of solar energy suggests that far less concentration is
possible, and that there will exist a competition for land area between the
various solar energy conversion systems. Since natural ecological systems
of forests, swamps, and prairie are in effect solar energy converters, as are
agriculture and managed forestry, the use of large areas of lands to transform
solar energy to other forms of energy using high technology will compete for
land with these other systems. Synthetic fuels based on biomass conversion is
yet another example of competition for solar energy. Understanding the
implications of this competition and the resulting changes in landuse have
significance in predicting future landscape organization, and movements of
Exotics Versus Natural Species. When exotic species of wildlife and
plantlife are introduced into existing landscapes displacement of native
species can result. In some cases they compete for available energy and
resources better than native species because of lack of controlling influences
like predators, and in other cases they outcompete native species because of
alterations to the environment as a result of the actions of humanity. In
some landscapes, native forests have been cut and exotic forests planted in their
place since the exotics seem to grow faster in these new situations.
In the first case, time may alter the threat of invasion as the landscape
adapts and predator species evolve. In the second case, the exotics may be
controlled by reinstituting the original environmental conditions. And in the
third case the rapid growth of exotic forests in place of native forests may
well be a temporary condition with growth rates declining over the years as
storage of resources are depleted.
When the landscape is disrupted as the result of strip mining exotics may
play an important role in returning these lands to productive uses, since
native species may not be adapted to these new conditions.
In all, understanding the role of exotic species is an important aspect
of understanding overall landscape processes.
Competition for Water, Land, and Energy. Regional economies maximize
the use of available land, water, and energy. Regions with either large
storage of resources or large flows of environmental energies (like sunlight,
wind, waves, or tides) have the ability to draw in investment of outside energy.
Growth of regions is the result of the exploitation of environmental resources
(both storage and flows) and the investment of outside energies. As growth
occurs some or all the resources and energies necessary for survival may become
limiting (such as water in arid regions, labor in sparsely populated regions,
or land and energy in inaccessable regions of difficult terrain). These
limiting resources may then be imported from other regions as local supplies
become more scarce.
In some cases the resource is moved, while in other cases the population,
and accompanying industry and commerce moves. Theory suggests that very high
quality energy is easier to transport than lower quality energy; and this is
thought to be due in part to the concentration of the higher quality energy.
The transporting of resources from one region to others to meet local
demands needs to be understood in light of its contribution to both economies -
the negative impact if resources are exported, the positive impact if imported
to a region where supply is limited and the potential positive impact if
utilized where they originate.
The intra-region competition for land, water, and energy is also in need
of research. Competition for land where it is limiting usually is settled
when land is utilized for its "highest and best use", which may or may not
maximize long term regional productivity. Recent increases in the rate of
conversion of prime agricultural land into roads and other urban uses is a good
example. An understanding of the embodied energy value of land, water, and
other environmental resources may aid long term regional planning and decision
making processes. More overall regional productivity in the long run may result
if competing uses are evaluated in terms of their potential contributions to
Adaptation of Communities in Marginal Areas. Competition for resources
in marginal environments is usually very keen. A need exists to understand
the ways in which indigenous communities in marginal areas have evolved resource
utilization systems that are adapted to prevailing ecological conditions. The
reasons for the comparative success of communities in marginal areas, once
understood, may be applied to planning processes when development in marginal
areas is proposed.
Strategies for success in marginal areas may be entirely different than
those in less severe environments, and may help to better understand overall
landscape processes and help to predict success or failure of differing systems
under differing environmental conditions.
Needs for Research on Methodology
Methodologies need to be investigated that will help identify the
causal forces in landscape evolution as a means of assessing the most
effective patterns of water and land use cycles and predict those that
may be successful during changing times. Of importance are changing cli-
matic conditions, disasters and war, effects of pulsing driving forces,
human intervention, succession, senescence, spread of innovation, inter-
action of fuel based energy and renewable energy, energy signature, and
human health. A brief listing of types of methodologies that should be
Relationship of Health and Social Well-Being to Landscape Organization
The socio-cultural relations most closely connected to the use of the
landscape are of importance and development of a means of evaluating the
interaction of use behavior and the environment is needed. The following
behavior patterns and social manifestations should be considered:
topophilia, switching of resources, family, community, markets, minimum
space requirements, and aesthetics.
Comparative analysis of factors of social well-being such as
alcoholism, crime, and mental health, should be indexed for various con-
figurations of landscape organization that include density, diversity,
energy intensity, open space, and others.
Determine health hazards to humans when sewage is recycled in the
environment through productive systems more directly linked to man. For
instance, recycling of human wastes in agroecosystems, and aquaculture,
directly and in a secondary manner by first composting or other means of
Of concern is chemically toxic wastes that when released to the en-
vironment in high concentration may cause disruption of processes and
functional units; but when released in low concentrations may be assimu-
lated by environments.
Comparative Study of Existing Systems of Landscape Organization
Using indicies of energy use, production, self-reliance, health,
recycling, social cohesion, investment ratios, and others evaluate and
compare patterns of land and water use and interfaces of humanity and
nature from differing locations. A method of catagorizing or grouping
systems studied might be climatic biomes, or others such as political
organization, or main driving energies.
Methods for Optimization of Self Organization
A main theory of processes of the landscape is the characteristic
self-orgainzation of components and linkages to changing environmental
conditions. Planning processes that do not reflect changing environmental
conditions and resulting shifts in landscape organization may be self-
defeating in the long run. Adaptive processes that retain flexibility
and allow for reorganization with changing conditions may generate better
overall patterns of land and water use. Planning processes that incor-
porate predictive models for driving functions that generate ranges of
alternative directions and allow selection processes to operate may be
a means of maintaining flexibility.
Research concerning predictive models of landscape re-organization
with changes in driving functions, environmental conditions, and
disasters could be undertaken using historic information of landscape
adaptation. General principles may emerge as studies of basic, recurring,
changes such as droughts, wars, embargos, earthquakes, resource depletion,
and others are studied and the resulting landscape re-organization cataloged.
Methods for Determining Carrying Capacity
Carrying capacity of environments also depends on limits set by resources
(concept of limiting factors), and assimilative capacity, as well as total
production stored, and rate of production.
Research is needed to better understand energy control of landscapes
and resulting carrying capacity. Methods of determining carrying capacity
need to address ratios of humanity to nature, using investment ratios, buf-
fering or assimilative capacities of natural systems for recycle, limiting
A major concern is that methods for determining carrying capacity are
not static, but are adaptive incorporating time series information, and
Long range carrying capacity of environments should reflect the spatial
and temporal manifestations of total landscape processes that are the result
of the interplay of low quality renewable energies and high quality non-
renewable energies directed as amplifier actions.
Unifying Models of Landscapes
Computer simulation models of landscapes that include space, time, and
landscape processes are needed to better understand spatial manifestations.
Models should include coupling of energy models with social parameters and
decision making processes to predict changes in physiography, ground and
surface water patterns, climate, vegetation, land use, energy use, and infra-
Needs for Research on Application
An important part of the science was believed to be the application
of developed principles, methods, and evaluation techniques. The purpose
or objective of applications would include demonstration and verification.
Demonstration projects would be designed to serve as concrete examples of
the use of principles and methods in order to achieve wider recognition
and acceptance. Other important purposes for applications include moni-
toring and evaluation in order to validate or improve developed principles
A series of demonstration projects throughout the nation will be
necessary to illustrate and refine appropriate application of the principles
of the science of landscapes. The projects would address critical needs
that have developed in the design and planning professions to properly
restore, revitalize, and rebuild society for a stable future.
Decisions are made every day. Economics, politics, interest group
tactics, etc., are inputs to the process. What evaluative techniques
from "ECOSYNTHESIS THINKING" can be applied is the issue here. Besides
theoretical considerations, we also are interested in locating examples
of, e.g., communities which are organized according to these principles.
We suggest that the following "matrix" offers a framework for this ques-
tion. Besides the question of the issue (sewage, agriculture, etc.),
there is also one of scale (household, neighborhood, etc.). The matrix
is blank; we are asking the ecologists to fill it in.
Scale of application
Issues House- Neigh- City County Bio- Nation Earth Mikro- Makro-
hold borhood region kosmos kosmos
materi al s
Needs for Research in Evaluation and Value
Appropriateness is defined with respect to the human social system
and the environment in other words to the entire system of man and nature.
The definition of appropriateness is the first question to be settled.
What are the criteria for survival or "objective functions" that have the
greatest comprehensiveness and predictive capability? More importantly,
how can we test these criteria? Appropriateness can only be defined in
relation to these criteria, just as a glove can only be said to fit in
relation to a specific hand.
A partial list of suggested system survival criteria includes:
minimum consumption of non-renewables
maintain biosphere productivity or integrity
minimize deviation from the "natural state"
maximize survival potential
For all of these, we must specify time scale, space scale, and system
Appropriateness to the human system will be determined in relation to
these criteria. Each discipline, such as planning,sociology and economics,
have their favorites. For example, deliberate smallness per unit of output
and deliberately slow rates of change might be appropriate if the system
criteria were maximum efficiency.
Smallness means a small number of people involved in the production
and operation of the technology. Slow rate of change means, for example,
a rate of unemployment (caused by the new technology), comparable with
normal attrition in the affected industries. At any rate appropriateness
can only be defined in light of a given criterion, and research needs to be
done to differentiate the systems criterion from ones own personal biases.
Appropriateness to the environment will, we think, almost surely
involve the concept of spatial density (of energy release, effluent release,
perturbed productivity, etc.). The important question is to what extent
aggregated or summary variables can be used to weight or aggregate an ex-
tended list of environmental indicators. The reason to seek one or several
summary variables is not to hide information, but to make the bookkeeping
and decision making tractable. Energy (both fossil fuel and embodied solar
energy) has been suggested as the single variable, but is far from accepted.
One need is an up-to-date summary of theoretical and (especially) exper-
imental justification for aggregating and a cost-benefit analysis on appro-
priateness of additional effort. Another need is to demonstrate by example
a rating of existing technology, current rating schemes, e.g., ecoenergetics
should be compared.
Combining appropriateness to humans and to the environment into a single
indicator. Even if this is not done explicitly, it is done implicitly.
People will make decisions about technology and those decisions imply that
certain considerations were given certain weights. We might do well to admit
that the reduction to a single factor cannot be avoided, it can only be
disguised or sloughed over. We should aim for more transparent and communicable
analysis and evaluation.
Given this, what are the suggested "single factors" and how can we
evaluate their relative usefulness? Any single factor summary must aim at
comprehensiveness. The currently proposed single factors are money and some
form of embodied energy accounting. We suspect that these two may ultimately
be integrateable under certain yet to be determined conditions. To address
these questions the current state of the art of economic and embodied energy
analysis must be extended. Methodological questions under this heading
What are the appropriate system boundaries for energy and economic
What are the relative merits of alternative methods for determining
quality (or weighting factors)?
What is the proper treatment of time and of space?
Examples of specific research needs in evaluation are:
Comparison of economic and energy analysis procedures on the
Evaluation of tables of energy transformation ratios to aid in energy
analysis and aid relating various aspects of humanity and nature to
their hierarchical position in networks
Development of evaluation and simulation models for consideration of
such units as rural systems,towns, cities, countries, and international
ORGANIZATION OF COMMUNITIES AND LANDSCAPES INTO
EFFECTIVE PATTERNS OF HUMAN SETTLEMENT AND ENVIRONMENTS
John F. Alexander, Jr.
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Florida
Planning for a low energy future with a set of tools developed in a time
of rapid growth presents both the practitioner and educator with many difficult
problems. Unfortunately, in Florida, development decisions are being made
every day with little or no knowledge of the total energy that must be committed
to the project. There is even evidence that new structures designed under
Florida's new energy conservation building codes may actually use more fossil
fuels than their supposedly less efficient predessors (Holst 1979).
In this paper I will detail the research needed to facilitate a better
patterning of man and nature for a low energy future. I will also address
several basic principles that will aid in developing the study of landscape
patterns as a basic science and present some preliminary results of a spatial
energetic simulation model, which I developed to assist Flagler County,
Florida, in their comprehensive plan.
A goal of the proposed research is to further develop a method of holistic
policy analysis, which can simulate the possible effect of alternative urban
planning policies. Land development policies being analyzed include
subdivision regulations, zoning, and performance standards. Special emphasis
will be placed on simulating the effect of alternative policies on human
settlement patterns over space and time and the future fossil fuel commitment
to each alternative.
In Florida, as other areas of the United States, the vast majority of
development decisions are made in the private sector within a policy framework
primarily administered by the local government. This yields two channels
through which to guide the future organization of human settlement. The first
is to work directly through the project planners and designers by providing
effective and practical tools to aid in the many decisions that affect a
particular project's overall design, total energy consumption, and compatability
with nature. The second is through public policy in the form of plans,
regulations, and codes that guide development.
The policies that shape human settlement in Florida are often very complex
and are dispersed into many agencies and organizations both public and private.
The task at hand is to understand the impact of the combined set of policies
on the development of human settlement and to develop new policies or refine
the old ones to aid in the transition to a low energy future.
Improving an understanding of the distribution of the growth of human
settlement over landscapes has been of interest to planners and decision
makers for many years. Unfortunately, little is known about the cost of
sprawling landscapes (Council on Environmental Quality, 1974) or about their
benefits, especially when related to future energy commitments. To plan for
a low energy future it is essential to develop a linkage between the myriad
of urban development policies and their impact on the future patterns of urban
development. I will briefly review previous work on location theory.
Residential location theory by Ratcliff (1949), Moses (1958), and Alonso
(1964) suggested that individual location decisions are made in a manner that
maximizes the individual's well being, or utility function, in the language
of the economist. Generally they constructed a utility function based on land
price, transportation cost, and local amenities. The application of location
theory to urban landscapes often leads to a very complex problem. The economic
value of amenities is hard to quantify, and many of the basic assumptions in
the theory may be violated by the real world situation.
In central place theory, Losch (1963) explains the nature of regional
settlement patterns based on hexagonal market areas. Berry and Garrison
(1958) constructed a functional basis of central place theory hierarchy by
empirically testing 33 centers in Snohomish County, Washington. Moses and
Williamson (1967) looked at the city in more detail and recognized that changes
in basic transportation cost over time had major effects on spatial behavior
of cities. The effect is illustrated for Chicago at two distinctly different
periods of time.
Schmenner (19/7) extends Moses and Williamson's temporal analysis to a
model that dynamically simulates the growth of an urban industrial location
over time, in a 7 by 7 grid pattern with the town divided into two rings,
with an empirical penalty for being near the edge of the checker board town.
Lai (1975) combined environmental interactions and household location
in a scheme for urban simulation. Rhee (1976) added dynamic feedback to
modeling spatial population density where population density as a function
of space and time is treated over a continuous domain.
Within the energy analysis group at the University of Florida, spatial
correlations of growth with embodied energy were developed by Regan (1977).
Costanza (1979) simulated historical development with successive spatial maps
of south Florida based on the distribution of environmental resources and the
attraction of outside investment money and embodied energies from other
economies. To generate expected landscape patterns, opportunity is ripe for
combining hierarchical patterns with maps of environmental energy distribution
and external models of investment and energy availability.
Because of the complexity of human settlement and landscapes it would be
helpful to develop models and methods to address the effect of policies on
human settlement patterns. It is proposed that a theory of holistic policy
anlaysis be developed. The proposed method would draw from energetic analysis
as developed by H.T. Odum (1976) and thematic mapping as employed by
I. HcHarg (1969).
A spatial model combining the distribution of spatial environmental
energy storage (soils, wood, and minerals) and inflowing renewable environ-
mental resources (rain, waves, sea breeze, etc.) with availability of energy of
investment is being developed. The model will be tested for regional growth
in Florida and validated for growth history. The model could be used to
analyze lower energy patterns of human settlement. Decentralization could be
tested as fuel availabilities, water wastage, and foreign investment pressures
decline. The work might first consider Florida regions, using several
scenarios. Since the model should really be a general one for any combination
of resource distributions, it will be tested on other situations.
The dynamic landscape simulation model currently under development
simulates future landscape settlement patterns under various policy constraints.
Environmental and natural factors, which are included as spatial state variable
arrays, are soils, geology, topography, water quality and quantity, and
vegetation. Ihe natural system is powered by solar and climatic energy flows.
Cultural features of the landscape include current settlement patterns, urban
infrastructure (water, sewer, roads, and power), as well as land value and
ownership. Natural features are thematically overlapped to locate the most
suitable areas for development. Cultural features are used to define good
locations for development alternatives. Land development policies are used to
control development patterns.
The heart of the dynamic portion of the landscape simulation model uses
energy circuit modeling to simulate growth or decline of the whole system.
Essentially, the spatial, natural, and cultural data arrays are exaggerated
each time-step to force the state variables storagee) in the energy circuit
model. After each time-step the overlay technique is used to locate the most
advantageous area for development. Hence, alternative land development policies
can be put into the model, and their effect on land development and its total
energy commitment can be simulated over time and space.
Figure 1 is a conceptual diagram of the spatial simulation model for
regional settlement patterns. The model is constrained by a set of development
policies. As the cultural futures of the landscape develop, locational
decisions are made based on the composite of natural constraints, current
settlement patterns, and development restrictions. We have developed a
primitive version of this model, which has been used with some success to
simulate the future growth of Flagler County, Florida. Figure 2 is a computer
LAND VALUE (1,j)
Fig. 1. Conceptual temporal and spatial policy analysis model for regional settlement patterns.
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Fig. 2. Composit map of Flagler County, Florida, showing suitability for
urban development under an environmentally sensitive development'policy.
The map is a composite of soils, water, topography, and transportation access.
map of the suitability of Flagler County for human settlement. This map was
produced by overlaying soils, topography, water, and infrastructure data
sets for 1980. Figure 3 is a mapping of the distribution or intensity of
human settlement currently in the county. Figure 4 is the result of simulating
the growth of the county over 10 years. The simulation took place in small
steps of time. Each incremental change in development was mapped as a cultural
future and then used to update the human settlement data base of the model.
Currently we are able to use our landscape simulation model as an
educational tool. The model provides a relatively realistic tool for simulating
the effect of various development incentives and restrictions on future
settlement patterns. Since it is an energy flow model, estimates of the
energy consumed by various development patterns are produced as a byproduct
of the simulation. The maps shown in Figs. 2, 3, and 4 were actually used by
our group in preparing of the Local Government Comprehensive Plan, which we
prepared for Flagler County, Florida. The public acceptance was good, and the
future simulation stimulated a lot of interest. We hope to further develop
the Flagler County case example this year. It should be stressed that our model
is in a very primitive stage but we are hopeful that in the next few years a
useful and reliable simulation model will be developed.
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assessed value of land and improvements from tne 1930 Flagler County tax rolls.
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Fig. 4. Map of simulated development intensity of Flagler County, Florida,
for year 2000 basea on application of environmentally sensitive development
CAT 627 PANS
D-3, D-5, D-6 DOZERS
and DUMP TRUCKS
Figure 6. Cost for digging, transporting and spreading peat material at
the occidental site and for comparison, asite in Central
ECOLOGICAL LAND USE PLANNING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA:
STATE OF THE ART AND THRESHOLD
Dept. of Landscape ArchitectUre and Urban Planning
University of Pennsylvania
Our job, our goal, our continued quest is to advance the state of the art
of the ecological planning method. To this end, as a cooperative faculty, we
have recruited, made welcome, and tenured natural and social scientists, lawyers,
planners, and designers. Today our faculty includes a geologist, a limnologist,
a soil scientist-geochemist, a plant ecologist, a resource economist, an
environmental lawyer, two anthropologists, and several landscape architects
and regional planners.
We believe, practice, and teach that planning and design decisions must
come from an understanding of people and place. As practitioners we utilize
available mapped and tabular data within the context of applied ecological
methods and theory to provide mapped land use alternatives for public and
private clients. Our ability to synthesize a full complement of environmental
and cultural data comes from our shared interdisciplinary teaching experience
and a continuing evolving theory and practice of applied human ecology.
Our model of any landscape of any region is composed of the concepts of
time, capability, control, and ideas. Time is the natural and cultural land
use history of the study site. We want to know how the place came to be,
what combinations of natural processes and phenomena, used by what kinds of
people with what impact on themselves and the land, under what technology and
cultural milieu, set the scene for the current pattern of human settlement,
land use, and natural processes and phenomena.
Capability or suitability is the ability of the environment to support
human use. Our analysis includes both opportunities what amount of work the
environment can do to provide services for humans, and constraints the impact
of land use upon land and land upon land use. Our analysis of suitability
comes from an understanding of the interactive biophysical cultural system.
The data inventory includes geology and physiography, ground and surface
hydrology, climate, soil, vegetation, wildlife, and land use. Before I
describe our analysis of the interactions among these data, I want to finish
the introduction of our model.
Control represents the system of institution and rules, both public and
private, that sanctions the use of the environment. Our data inventory includes
state, federal, and local laws, an understanding of markets, the study of land
use interest groups and voluntary associations, and the study of belief systems
at they effect the use of the environment. To borrow from mv anthropologist
friends' ideas, we want to know both the users' conceptions of use and survival
as well as the scientists' and lawyers' overviews of how the system works or
Closely connected to control are ideas. These reflect people's values
through their siting criteria (why they use a place), their choice of
technology to use that place, and their choice of strategy to manage and control
that place. Our data inventory includes site specific analysis of land use
practices and the social organization of land use. The major concerns are
conflicts between insiders and outsiders: the seasonality of use as linked
to memory, skill, and the switching of resources; love of place or topophilia;
and the interactions between markets, technology, family and community.
The study of control and ideas produces user desired futures both in terms
of management strategy and alternative sites for future uses. With an inventory
of time, capability, control, and ideas we can build our qualitative ecological
model of people and place. Our assumption is that the landscape has a pattern,
has a code, and that with our perceptions and those of the users we can interpret
and read that code. First we seek concurrences in space. What goes together
and why. What combinations of groundwater, soils, vegetation, and land use are
found with what set of ideas and what systems) of control. We ask the questions
why is it where it is and where is it going and to answer we invoke time and
the continuing processes and phenomena of the environment. Our major tool is
a simple cross section or several which display the classic concurrences of
natural and cultural phenomena that are any region.
Next we must invoke process and we do so by systematically asking what are
the major linking processes between the factors of the natural environment and
the suers, their site choices, their technology and the control systems.
Quite naturally there are subsyntheses for logical combinations. Geochemistry
is our major link from the physical environment to the living environment and
each of these has their own important relationships. We rely on the experience
of the scientists, and the state of the art in their disciplines to explain how
the natural and cultural landscape "works." Our analysis ends with certain
statements. "If you want these uses then use these places." Each prospective
use is mapped as a gradient of opportunity and constraint. "If you use these
places then there will be certain social and ecological impacts!' Because we
focus on the "user" context, as well as the interactive natural environment,
we have a reasonable tool to assess who will suffer and who will benefit from
any proposed land use plan. We can link the quality of people's lives to the
future use of their home.
The extensive maps and charts necessary are either hand drawn, are
photographically reproduced or are digitized using polygons for comparative
manipulation using the values derived from the user study and participation.
Such is the state of the art.
This ecological anthropological or natural/cultural approach is quite
complementary to Tom Odum's energy cost benefit analysis.
While we invoke the concepts of ecology, we are limited by our tools of
states maps, and lifeless cross sections. Certainly the infusion of the
people's needs and desires gives life and vitality to the data, but we lack
our interactive ecological model of a landscape. Here is the threshold -
combine the energy model with the mapped analysis of people's needs and the
opportunity and constraints of the environment to form a new tool for resource
Let us utilize rapidly becoming available high resolution remotely sensed
imagery to map the environment. Let us tie the classic natural and built
forms and concurrences together with an energy model that does articulate
the fundamental ecological relationships between the biotic and abiotic
environments. Let us drive this model with policy assumptions and alternatives
from the scientific community, political leaders, and as I have found the many
and articulate users of the environment. Let us combine space, time, and
process through energy flows to provide a predictive tool for policy makers.
The development of this software will provide a revolutionary tool for those
of us interested in environment and choice.
I see a data system with its separate parts arranged spatially but
connected as they are ecologically such that human intervention over time
can be mapped, the inputs graphed and also mapped. If mining occurs in
particular locations then other locations will be affectedby water quality,
air quality, plant succession, nutrient flows, and material flows. These
links can be made explicit and spatial. We will have a tool that will generate
a land use/vegetation map for any period in time, with an energy cost/benefit
analysis. This will be linked to the people's own use patterns and patterns of
community life to forecast the social, political, economic, and energetic costs
of any intervention.
There can be no more appropriate technology than such an interactive
system, used in the context of applied ecology, and aggressive public
participation to help guide the future critical use of our world.
(1) adequate software
(2) model of relationships between time series and phenomena
(3) continued development of the user context
love of place
ENHANCED REESTABLISHMENT OF DISTURBED NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS
G. Ronnie Best
Center for Wetlands and
Environmental Engineering Sciences Department
University of Florida
Disturbance of natural ecosystems in the United States has been occurring
since the movement of modern man to the continent several centuries ago.
These disturbances consist of a wide range of forms such as altering natural
ecosystems to agroecosystems, or altering surface ecosystems through total
surface disturbance in mining (strip mining, open pit mining, etc). These
disturbances still continue, the primary difference now is that the scale of
disturbance is expanding concomitant with increased need of resources from
these areas. A few examples are oil from oil shale, increased use of coal,
and increased need for phosphate. This paper is not intended to address the
need for this expanded use of resources, but is meant to address the need to
develop knowledge necessary to reconstruct and/or manage disturbed ecological
systems concomitant with increasing needs for utilizing resources from within
these areas. Our knowledge relevant to the reconstruction of disturbed nat-
ural ecological systems is almost nonexistent. The need exists for develop-
ment, synthesis, and integration of information on key biotic and abiotic
factors regulating construction of natural ecosystems that may be useful in
their reconstruction. In summary, research is needed to develop guidelines
for practical reclamation and revegetation of disturbed lands to enhance
natural recovery of terrestrial, wetland, and aquatic ecosystems.
Planning for Balanced Design of Landscape
Although the generalities dealt with in this statement primarily address
reconstruction of natural ecosystems, this is not to imply that all lands
should be returned to native systems. Instead, the ideal is to maintain a
functional balance between man-maintained or man-used systems and natural
systems. Man-used ecosystems generally require direct or indirect subsidies
in the form of dollars, energy, and stewardship; an investment of resources
made to yield specific products. Natural ecosystems also provide a product,
albeit somewhat more indirect, to the whole system of which man is a part.
Research is needed that would address the development of guidelines balancing
the specific needs of the human subsystem within.,the constraints and limita-
tions of the larger "whole" system. (This concept is more fully described in
sections by Drs. Brown and Klopatek.)
Enhanced Recovery of Natural Ecosystems
The seral development of disturbed natural communities (succession) has
been studied in great detail in American ecological research. Therefore one
might ask, "Why stress the importance of continued research on plant community
succession?" Actually, the justification for additional research on succes-
sion (at least covered in this statement) lies within the need for research
more in line with the development of appropriate technology for enhancing the
succession process. That is, research on plant community succession needs to
more clearly address the essential or primary components that lead to success-
ful reestablishment of natural ecosystems. Certainly, it can be agreed that
all components in ecosystems are essential for them to properly function.
However, I feel a strong argument can be levied in favor of keying in on spe-
cific primary components, at least for enhancing reestablishment of more
mature natural ecosystems. Examples are listed below:
-large-scale seed sources for native plants (trees, shrubs, grasses,
and herbaceous plants)
-seed mixture combination for enhancing recovery to specific ecosystems
*survivorship of individuals (or species) in seed mixtures
*microflora (especially endo- and ectomycorrhizal fungi) enhancement of
seedling establishment and seedling survivorship
-other flora and/or fauna that may be essential in the establishment
phase of natural ecosystems
-native versus introduced species. Are there gaps better filled by
*extended subsidies-example, irrigation (even in arid or semiarid
regions), is this subsidy necessary for reestablishment of native sys-
tems, or does it select for individuals more dependent on the suppli-
ment? If native species are used, they should be more generally adapted
to the dominant forcing functions of the area.
Are these specific requirements for soil or soil profile reconstruction
to enhance successful surface revegetation? Numerous states have enacted
"topsoiling" requirements on surface mined lands; the assumption being that
topsoil provides "all" the essential soil components for successful surface
revegetation. How well founded (scientifically) is this practice? Is there a
need for subsurface soil profile development in some systems? Also, what is
the cost (energy use) effectiveness of soil reconstruction? Is topsoiling a
cost (or energy use) effective method? Much new research is needed on under-
standing the interrelationship of reestablished natural communities concomi-
tant with disturbed and/or reconstructed surface and subsurface soil systems.
In summary, research is needed to address the appropriate technology for
reclaiming disturbed lands. Research is needed on characteristic systems to
accumulate data necessary to develop practical (i.e., cost effective and
applicable on a large scale) methodology and technology for reclaiming dis-
turbed lands to natural ecological systems as one of many viable reclamation
alternatives. The main thrust of the research should be towards whole ecosys-
tem reconstruction-that is, reconstruction of aquatic, wetland, terrestrial,
and transitional communities within watersheds or regions-through enhancing
conditions more conducive of rapid reestablishment of more mature stages of
succession, i.e., through enhancing ecological succession.
GENERAL THEORETICAL PRINCIPLES FOR A SCIENCE
OF THE LANDSCAPE
Mark T. Brown
Center for Wetlands and
Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Florida
A science of the landscape, such as environmental design science or the
science of self-designing systems should have general principles of organization
and operation. If we use energy as a means of understanding processes of
landscape systems, then we have basic laws such as the laws of thermodynamics
and Lotka's maximum power principle (first enunciated by Lotka in 1922, with
additional corollaries by Odum (1967, 1971, 1975) and Odum and Odum (1981))
that may be applied to transformations and flows of energy in the landscape.
Other principles are needed, however, to further understand the organization
of landscapes and to lend insight into structure and function.
Some principles that may apply are as follows:
Energy convergence and divergence and resulting hierarchical organization
Energy spectral distributions
Embodied energy as a measure of value
Control as a function of embodied energy
Matching of high-quality and low-quality energy
Power density and gradients of energy use.
A Basic Principle of Hierarchical Organization
Energy Convergence and Divergence
The landscape can be visualized as a web of energy flows, as in Fig. la,
where dilute energies are converged and cascaded through components and processes
and support fewer and fewer components at each step. Necessary losses at each
step are required by the second law of thermodynamics, and leave less and less
energy available for useful work as energy is converged in the web.
The webs of energy flow in the landscape may be visualized in simplified
form, as in Fig. lb, where components of like function have been aggregated
into five compartments. In the diagram, energy flows from right to left in
INCREASING SIZE OF COMPONENTS
-DECREASING NU- OF COMPO
DECREASING NUMBER OF COMPONENTS
Control Action Feedback
INCREASING QUALITY OF ENERGY
- DECREASING QUANTITY OF ENERGY
Fig. 1. The web of energy flow in the landscape; where energy flows from
source through successively smaller numbers of components. (a) Web of energy
flow showing many small components converging energy to a few large ones;
(b) a simplified diagram where like components are grouped into an energy
converging patterns, while control actions are fed back in diverging patterns.
When energy is available from only one source, as in Fig. 1, the hierarchical
pattern that emerges is a smooth transition from one level to the next. When
secondary sources of higher quality energy are available, they inflow where their
quality nearly matches (i.e., they are imported into the landscape where the
density of energy use is nearly equal to the energy density of the source).
Figure 2 illustrates the distribution of energy among components that result
from a single low-quality source (Fig. 2a) and from the combination of a low-
quality source and higher quality source (Fig. 2b).
Previous studies of the energy basis for the hierarchical organization
of regional and urban landscapes (Brown 1981) indicates that patterns of
organization and the partitioning of energy within the landscape may be
predicted from energy flows, and may be an important concept to gain further
understanding and help to predict spatial organization under differing energy
Energy Spectral Distributions
When graphs of components of the landscape are drawn with the number of
components on the horizontal axis and energy density on the vertical axis,
an energy spectrum results that indicates the distribution of energy within the
system. The area under the graph is the total energy embodied in the system.
Figure 3 illustrates various energy spectra of components of landscapes.
Frequencies and hierarchical position of occupations, landuses, and cities
may be predicted by graphing inflowing energy as energy spectra and future
distributions predicted from energy expectations. The energy distribution
graph indicates the relative numbers of components at each level in the
hierarchy from low energy components (such as natural lands) to the components
of high embodied energy (urban lands or humans).
Spatial distributions of the resulting energy distributions may be useful
using the principles of hierarchical convergence-divergence to form planning
maps of the patterns of landscape organization.
The Principle of Embodied Energy
Embodied energy is the total energy used to build and maintain a process
(or good), expressed in Calorie equivalents of one type of energy (Odum and
Odum 1981). In hierarchical energy chains highest embodied energy, longest
time constants, and largest relative size correspond to the last components in
the system. Actual energy (or heat energy) is smallest in these components.
Where energy converges in the landscape, as is the case at river deltas,
estuaries, and swamps, as well as the concentration of humanity in cities,
energy flows that support these systems are converged and cascaded from large
support regions. The energy embodied in these areas of energy convergence is
the total energy inflowing to the support region. The watershed defines the
1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
ENERGY PER INDIVIDUAL
1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
ENERGY PER INDIVIDUAL
Fig. 2. Energy spectral distributions of two basic configurations of landscape
organization. (a) Spectrum resulting from one low energy source converged
through an energy chain; and (b) spectrum resulting from the inflow of a
low energy source and a second high quality source.
S 40 60 so 1 '00
POWER DENSITY (xlO Kcal/yr)
--- RURAL ROADS
0 25 50 75 100
POWER DENSITY (x O' CoCE/mile)
o00 200 300 400 MO 600
RATED POWER OUTPUT (MW)
Fig. 3. Energy spectra of some subsystems of the landscape in Florida.
(a) Power spectrum of cities in Florida; (b) power spectrum of roads in Florida;
and (c) power spectrum of electrical power plants in Florida.
support region of swamps, deltas, and estuaries; and the surrounding landscape
of the city from which food, fiber, and resources are drawn is the support
region for the city.
Embodied Energy as a Measure of Value
In most cases, when dollars are applied to determinations of value, much
value goes unaccounted for, since the economic system only applies to the
part of a system which is dominated by humanity. The economic value of agri-
cultural and wood products, for instance, is the dollar costs of the inputs of
fuels, machinery, and services necessary for production, harvesting, and shipping.
No accounting of the energy that is embodied from sunlight, rain, and soils
is included, and yet these energies represent a very large fraction of the
total energy required for production.
The value of mineral resources is determined by the dollar costs of mining,
and not by the total energy required to form them in the first place. Their
true value is the energy cost to replace them, which may be determined by
calculating their total embodied energy.
If trade were evaluated in embodied energy terms, a clearer picture of
balance of trade would emerge. Regions that export goods with high embodied
energy and receive in exchange goods of lower embodied energy have a net deficit
and may not compete in the long run.
Control a. a Function of Embodied Energy
As shown in Fig. lb, energy converges from low energy components to higher
and higher energy components that have high embodied energy, and control
actions diverge from high embodied energy components to components of lower
embodied energy. In evaluated energy diagrams of landscape processes, when
flows are expressed in embodied energy terms, as in Fig. 4c, those flows with
highest embodied energy have largest controlling influence.
While the actual energy (heat energy) is small, the energy costs of control
are large and thus embodied energy is high (see Fig. 4). Theory suggests that
the higher the embodied energy of a flow, the larger its controlling influence.
The Principle of Energy Quality
Not all energy is equal in its ability to cause work. Some energy is more
concentrated and of greater flexibility than others. The ability to generate
heat through burning has been the standard means of measuring the energy value
of different materials; however, this measurement does not reflect the
flexibility or concentration of different energies. A better means of
expressing ability to cause work is to evaluate all .energies in equivalent
energy of one type, such as in coal equivalent Calories. For a thorough
discussion of energy quality see Odum (1976, 1977, 1978, 1978a) and Odum and
FLOWS= x 10o" Col./yr.
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and coal equivalent (C.E.) evaluations for flows. Transformation ratios are
calculated by dividing flow value in (a) by flow value in (b). Coal equivalent
Calories are derived by dividing solar Calories by 2000 (see Table 1).
Calories are derived by dividing solar Calories by 2000 (see Table 1).
Recent analysis has derived the transformation ratios (or quality factors)
that are given in Table 1. The transformation ratios are used to convert
energies of various types to energy of one type,in this instance to Calories
of coal equivalent.
Matching of High and Low Quality Energy
Energy of high quality, such as fuels, machinery, and the inputs of
information by humans, for the most part, are utilized as amplifier energies
on lower quality flows. In this way the lower quality energies are upgraded
and more total work is performed. The ratio of high quality energy to the low
quality resident energy of a system is termed an investment ratio. The
investment ratio is a relative means of assessing what is appropriate for
economic vitality of an energy regime.
Processes that rely on very high levels of technology have high investment
ratios, while "appropriate technology" systems have lower ratios. The
investment ratio may be a means of classifying technologies and appropriate
uses of environmental energies.
When energy is not matched, or when high quality energy is used for low
quality tasks, energy is wasted. If, for example, the low quality energies of
sunlight, wind, and rain are ignored and agricultural crops are grown indoors
using artificial light, fans for air movement, and pumped water for irrigation,
much energy is wasted. Investment ratios and ratios of high quality investments
to yields indicate what is possible and economic with different energy
Power Density and Gradients of Energy Use
When the spatial use of energy is derived, power density (or the rate of
energy flow per unit area) results. Power density is expressed in units of
energy per unit of area per unit of time, such as Cal/acre-yr. Recent
investigations of energy intensity of urban land uses resulted in the data
given in Table 2.
Units of the landscape with differing power densities develop gradients
between them. These gradients are the site of much potential conflict. The
larger the gradient, the larger is the potential conflict. When large
gradients exist between bordering nations the potential for war is far greater
than if energy gradients are relatively small, and nothing can be gained by
conflict. The possibility for a zone of depressed land values and dilapidated
structures is greater where a large gradient exists between high power density
industrial land use and a lower power density residential neighborhood.
Transition zones that smoDth gradients are a means of avoiding conflict.
Conflict may also be avoided by insuring that large gradients do not occur
by balancing power between units (such as is done when military arms are sent
to developing countries), or when urban planners zone intense land uses back
Table 1. Energy transformation ratios (quality factors) used to convert
energies of various types to Calories Coal Equivalent (Cal. C.E.)
Energy type Footnote Transformation ratio
Sunlight a 1/2000
Sugar of gross production
still distributed over
the landscape a 1/200
Wind a 1/27
Wood still distributed
over the landscape b 1/2.2
Coal a 1/1
Finished wood b 1.3
Ocean waves reaching shore a 1.35
Gasoline b 1.4
Elevated water a 1.5
Tide a 1.6
Water purity a 1.8
Natural gas b 2.0
Electricity a 4.0
Food (except meat) b 4.4
Steel b 4.4
Meat b 15.0
Misc. goods b 75.0
Phosphate a 293
a From Odum 1980.
b From Brown 1981.
Table 2. Power density and total volume of structure for selected
From Brown (1981).
land uses in Fort Myers, Florida.
Fossil fuel in goods and Total power d
power density services density Total volume
(x 106 Cal (x 106 Cal (x 106 Cal of structure
Land use type CE/acre yr) CE/acre yr) CE/acre yr (x 103ft3/acre)
Low density 70 328 398 42.0
Medium density 90 411 501 70.0
High density 110 463 573 85.8
Low rise (2 stories) 340 1557 1897 302.0
High rise (4 stories) 570 2488 3058 664.4
Medium density 122 597 719 30.6
High density 230 1086 1316 54.4
Commercial strip 680 441 1121 150.3
Commercial mall 3280 2052 5332 141.6
Industrial 760 548 1308 167.2
Central business district
Average 2 stories 2300 1525 3905 528.5
Average 4 stories 4320 2789 7109 1102.8
a Energy consumption data from billing records of Florida Power and Light, Ft. Myers office for 1973.
In general, a 10% sample size of each land use classification was used.
b Goods and services consumed by each sector are from an input/output analysis of the Lee County
analysis that gave total end use of goods and services by sector. Then that amount that was
attributable to each separate land use within sectors was apportioned according to the same percentage
of fossil fuel energies consumed by sector.
c Addition of column 2 and 3.
d Volume of structure is calculated by multiplying the square feet of structural area (obtained from
aerial photographs) by average heights of buiTdings.
Power Density and the Propensity to Import and Export
A method that may have significance in determining the regional boundaries
of systems is suggested by the nomograph of exports versus development density
(power density) of regions that is given in Fig. 5. The nomograph shows that
the propensity to export (and thus to import to maintain balance of payments)
is greater as the density of development increases for regional systems of all
sizes. In essence, this relationship suggests that the greater the density of
development the more an urbanized area relies on external areas for sources
of primary goods and energies. And to carry one step further, since primary
goods require large areas of the landscape for their production (i.e. they are
low in quality and occupy large spatial area), the greater the density of
development the greater the size of the region required for support.
The support area is that area of low quality diffuse natural and
agriculturally based lands that are the first step in the hierarchy of
increasing concentrations of low quality energies and materials. Support areas
may be determined using the energy mix of natural energies to high embodied
energy that is characteristic of the national economy as a whole. The ratio
of high quality fuels to low quality renewable energy in the economy is about
2.5:1. Knowing the average power density of the regional landscape, and the
power density of a unit within, the support region of the unit may be calculated
by taking approximately 29% of the total inflowing energy into the unit (which is
the contribution from low quality renewable sources) and calculating the area
that would be necessary to contribute this energy at the average for the region.
This concept is illustrated in Fig. 6.
When principles of energy convergence and divergence, embodied energy, and
energy quality are applied to processes of the landscape, new insight is gained
and new directions for additional research are indicated.
Principles of the convergence and divergence of energy suggests a
hierarchical organization and partitioning of energy in the landscape; and
predictions of the distribution of occupations, incomes, and cities, as well
as landuses within cities may be derived from energy spectra and future energy
The concept of energy quality and embodied energy provides a useful
measurement of value and suggests appropriate uses of technology and environ-
mental interface systems using energy investment ratios.
Power density calculations may provide a method of determining support
area and ultimately carrying capacity for humanity and nature of regions.
j 100 a *
OT e AB *
( A COUNTRIES
W i0. A
10 NOTE: I OBSERVATION HIDDEN
10 100 1000 IOPOO
GROSS COUNTY PRODUCT/SQ. MI.
00 N *E--B COUNTIES
400- A *---*STATES
0 A---A COUNTRIES
or/ NOTE: 13 OBSERVATIONS HIDDEN
200 A -
0 2000 4000 6000 8000
DEVELOPMENT DENSITY (GDP)
Fig. 5. Nomograph of the relationship between development density and exports
for 3 different scale regions. Development density was calculated from
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by dividing by area; and exports were determined
from base-nonbase occupational analysis for countries and states.
MIX OF NATURAL ENERGIES TO FUEL
ENERGIES IN U.S. ECONOMY IS 2.5/1
TOTAL INFLOWING ENERGY=3.5
NATURAL ENERGY COMPONENT= 1/3.5=29%
REGIONAL BOUNDARY WITH NATURAL ENERGY
INFLOW AT THE RATE OF IxlO6 CAL/ACRE-YR.
CITY WITH AREA OF 1000 ACRE AND
AVERAGE DENSITY OF 10xI6 CAL/ACRE-YR.
SUPPORT REGION TO BE DETERMINED
TOTAL ENERGY INFLOW TO CITY=1000 ACRES IOOxIO6 CAL/ACRE-YR.
= 1xO" CAL/YR.
NATURAL ENERGY CONTRIBUTION TO CITY=29%XlxIO" CAL/YR.
= 2.9x IOIOCAL/YR.
SUPPORT REGION =
2.9x OcAL/A-YR = 2.9 X 104 ACRES
Fig. 6. Diagram explaining method for determining support region for cities.
Brown, M.T. 1981. Energy basis for hierarchies in urban and regional
landscapes. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Lotka, A.J. 1922. A contribution to the energetic of evolution. Proceedings
of the National Academy of Science. 43:293-95.
Odum, H.T. 1967. Biological circuits and the marine systems of Texas. Pages
99-157 in F.J. Burgess and T.A. Olson (eds.), Pollution and Marine
Ecology. John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Odum, H.T. 1971. Environment, Power, and Society. John Wiley and Sons,
Odum, H.T. 1975. Marine ecosystems with energy circuit diagrams. Pages
127-151 in J.C.J. Nihoul (ed.), Modeling of Marine Systems. Elsevier
Scientific Publishing Co., New York.
Odum, H.T. 1976. Energy quality and carrying capacity of the Earth. Tropical
Odum, H.T. 1977. Energy, value,and money. Pages 174-96 in C.S. Hall and
J.W. Day (eds.). Ecosystem Modeling in Theory and Practice: An
Introduction with Case Histories. John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Odum, H.T. 1978. Energy analysis, energy quality and environment. Pages
55-87 in M.W. Gilliland (ed.). Energy Analysis: A New Public Policy Tool.
AAAS Selected Symposium 9.
Odum, H.T. 1978(a). Net energy from the sun. Pages 196-211 in S. Lyons (ed.).
Energy for a Livable Future Comes from the Sun: A Handbook for the Solar
Age. Friends of the Earth, San Francisco.
Odum, H.T. and E.C. Odum. 1980. Energy system of New Zealand and the use of
embodied energy for evaluating benefits of international trade.
pp. 106-107 in Proc. of Energy Modelling Symposium. Nov. 1979.
Technical Publication No. 7. N.Z. Ministry of Energy, Wellington, N.Z.
Odum, H.T. and E.C. Odum. 1981. Energy Basis for Man and Nature. 2nd Edition.
McGraw Hill, New York.
INTEGRATING ECONOMICS AND ECOLOGY FOR IMPROVED
EVALUATION OF ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGIES
Coastal Ecology Laboratory
Center for Wetland Resources
Louisiana State University
Economics and ecology have some fundamental things in common. Both fields
are concerned with the allocation of scarce resources among competing uses.
Given this we might suspect that the methods of analysis and general conclusions
of the two fields would tend to converge. In general there are strong
parallelisms between the theoretical tools developed in the two fields, but
they are marked by differences in terminology, in philosophical perspective,
and in system boundaries. As man's use of the resources of the biosphere
increases, however, the need to incorporate environmental interactions explicitly
and quantitatively in economic decisionmaking also increases. No longer can
we consider environmental resources to be "free goods" to be consumed at
"zero cost". In reality, there is no such thing as a "free good", there is
only limited, shortsighted, and imperfect economic accounting. In other words,
the boundaries of the current market exchange system do not encompass all the
interactions of interest to us. A primary prerequisite for any valid analysis
is thus the expansion of the boundaries to the point where a truly comprehensive
accounting is possible.
With these expanded boundaries a conservative common metric is essential.
In early ecological work calorimetric energy was used as an accounting unit
since conservation of energy guarantees a conservative, all-pervasive unit.
But this "first law accounting" ignores differences in availability which are
the basis for economic usefulness. The concept of "embodied energy" addresses
the question of availability by looking at the direct and indirect energy cost
of producing useful commodities. It is a type of "second law accounting" which
is applicable to irreversible systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium -
in other words, all living systems.
There is currently much disagreement and confusion over the correct
boundaries and methodologies for embodied energy calculations among practitioners
of energy analysis. Given the potential importance and usefulness of embodied
energy in providing a quantitative bridge between the physical and behavioral
sciences, research should be directed toward studies which might resolve the
conflicts. The major questions I see in this area are:
1) What are the appropriate system boundaries and how are the results
affected by different boundary assumptions?
2) What is the proper treatment of time in energy accounting?
3) Should we require that embodied energy be a conservative quantity?
4) What is the best way to handle joint products?
5) Can energy analysis evaluate technologies which are not already
Expanding on point 2 above, current embodied energy techniques are for
the most part static calculations. They are aimed at providing information
about interdependence in complex systems that is not apparent to the casual
observer. They provide information analogous to that provided by a microscope -
they let us see things beyond our unaided perception. They do not, by
themselves, say anything about the future state of the system under study.
True predictive capacity requires dynamic (probably non-linear) models that
are capable of dealing adequately with evolution. This gets at the heart of
the "appropriateness" issue since I equate "appropriate" with "successful"
in an evolutionary sense. A primary research objective in developing better
predictive models is the specification of the independent criterion for survival
necessary to make "survival of the fittest" a non-circular argument. We must
be able to specify, a-priori, what constitutes "fitness". Both ecology and
economics have developed models that rely on "fitness functions" (i.e. maximum
profits, maximum power, maximum reproductive success). Research which could
somehow test the proliferating fitness functions for comprehensiveness and
predictive capacity would go far in improving and generalizing our evolutionary
models, thus allowing us to predict what technologies are "appropriate". The
concept of embodied energy may have an important role to play in this regard,
since the best predictors may also be the most comprehensive and embodied
energy is an attempt at a comprehensive common denominator.
THOUGHTS ON NEEDED RESEARCH DIRECTIONS
Department of Anthropology
University of Florida
A considerable body of anthropological and historical research suggests
that the qualitative and quantitative aspects of modes of energy production
and of the technologies of subsistence strongly condition the direction of
sociocultural evolution (Harris 1978; 1980). The divergent pathways of
pre-industrial states practicing decentralized forms of rainfall agriculture
in Western Europe as contrasted with concentrated and centralized forms of
irrigation agriculture practiced in the arid river valleys of China,
Mesopotamia and Egypt may account for marked divergences in political-economic
institutions and value systems: the former, leading toward decentralized
feudal politics, capitalism, and pluralistic parliamentary democracies; the
latter leading toward monolithic, totalitarian, agro-managerial despotisms
(Wittfogel 1956). If these theories are correct, evaluations of alternative
modes of energy production now under consideration should include predictions
of probable politico-economic, and value system effects as well as their
economic and energetic efficiencies.
Today the basic techno-economic-environmental configuration which gave
rise to Western democratic institutions and values appear to be threatened by
the ongoing concentration, oligopolization, and bureaucratization of our
industrial modes of energy production. Is it possible to reverse the trend
toward centralization? And would decentralization arrest the process of
alienation, declining productivity, inflation, and social decomposition which
all appear to be linked to the oligopolization and bureaucratization of both
the public and private sectors of the U.S. economy (Harris 1981)?
I should like to see programs of research aimed at assessing the social
and institutional consequences of a broad range of decentralizing experiments
now under way in the U.S. and abroad. It should be possible to measure the
effects of decentralized modes of energy production and of their conjoined
technologies upon such variables as job satisfaction, participation in
community affairs, quality of education, crime rates, and other indices of
standard of living and quality of life. Studies of these effects seem to me
to be necessary adjuncts to the attempt to evaluate energetic or economic
efficiencies of new technological-environmental systems.
APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY, AGRICULTURE AND ENERGY
Richard C. Fluck
Agricultural Engineering Department
University of Florida
In this paper I attempt an examination of appropriate technology as it
relates to the use of energy in agriculture.
Viable agricultural systems worldwide exhibit an amazing variety of
commodities produced, resources utilized and scale, flexibility and resiliency,
level of diversification, and degree of industrialization. Utilization of solar
energy is common to almost all, and many use primary, non-renewable energy.
I would suggest that most if not all current agricultural systems are, in a
sense, today's appropriate technology. There is no single, constant appropriate
technology for the use of energy in agriculture.
Agriculture requires resources in addition to energy: land, labor, capital,
knowledge, genetic material, water, nutrients. Resources available at a single
point in space and time vary and thus greatly influence and determine a specific
appropriate technology. Resources are generally partially substitutable for
other resources but not generally totally substitutable. The level of energy
input can therefore vary considerably.
Agriculture is the cultivation of the soil, the production of crops and
the growing of livestock useful to man. Agricultural production is food, fiber,
feed, flowers, forest products, fuel and feedstocks. Food for man is the
predominant and most important final product. Increasing food production has
enabled human population to increase to 4.5 billion. Food production must
continue at present or increased levels until we control population, or massive
suffering and stavation will occur. Our numbers have locked us in on our
current and currently appropriate technology.
The question of what is appropriate technology for the use of energy in
agriculture does not have a single concise answer; rather a number of points
are relevant to the question.
First, since resources available to the farmer vary with his location and
time, appropriate technology is neither homogenous nor invariant. Resource
availability is not easily modified. Farmers generally use available resources
in quantities inversely proportional to their relative costs and proportional
to their effects on production to produce as efficiently as their knowledge
allows. Cheap, available and effective energy, or any other resource so
characterized, is used in large amounts.
Second, appropriate technology for the utilization of any resource,
including energy, is efficient technology. Energy productivity, the quantity
of product per unit of total energy sequestered, is maximized, limited by
constraints associated with other resources. The partial productivity of one
input can often be increased only at the expense of a decrease in the partial
productivities of one or more other inputs. Non-renewable energy has been
relatively inexpensive in the past and has been used liberally. Conservation
of energy in agricultural systems has yielded and will continue to yield
Third, appropriate energy technology will, in the long term, shift from
the use of non-renewable stock resources to renewable flow resources. This
shift will likely occur in agriculture at the same pace as the rest of the
economy shifts, neither sooner nor later. It will occur in response to
increasing costs of non-renewable energy relative to the costs of other inputs.
Fourth, new technology will be developed in response to the energy
situation. New, low energy technology will result in higher energy
productivities. Possibilities include increased photosynthetic efficiency,
biological nitrogen fixation, improved pest resistance, improved mechanization
for yield increases, vastly improved varieties.
Fifth, since food is one of the basic necessities of life, food production
is the most appropriate technology for agriculture. Production of non-food
products, though of great economic importance to individual farmers and even
entire countries, must in the long run be subjective to necessary food
production. The cultivation of large areas of our limited arable land for fuel
production should not occur so long as food needs exist. Energy from
agriculture is generally most appropriately a coproduct or utilization of a
product otherwise wasted.
Last, increasingly energy intensive agricultural production does not
necessarily lead to less effective energy use but it may lead instead to
higher energy productivities. Also, there occurs the additional benefits of
increased energy intensity which are increased labor and land productivities.
I close with a note of optimism. It is my observation that our natural and
artificial (economic) systems are responsive to external influences and
generally exhibit negative feedback. They are self-correcting. Our agricultural
production systems are responding to increased energy costs. However, they do
not seem to be able to anticipate future changes and make prior adjustments.
Perhaps that evidences the utility of our investigations into appropriate
technology and resultant personal and institutional responses.
Shumacher, E.F. 1975. Small is Beautiful. Harper Colophon Books, New York.
Fluck, Richard C. 1981. Fundamentals of Energy Analysis for Agriculture.
In Agricultural Energy, Vol. 1. 1980. ASAE National Energy Symposium.
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1975. Energy and Economic Myths. Sou. Econ. J.
Just, Richard E., Andrew Schmitz and David Zilberman. 1979. Technological
Change in Agriculture. Science 206:1277-1280.
DeWit, C.T. 1979. The Efficient Use of Labour, Land and Energy in Agriculture.
Agr. Systems 279-287.
Ward, Gerald M., Thomas M. Sutherland and Jean M. Sutherland. 1980. Animals
as an Energy Source in Third World Agriculture. Science 20:570-574.
Fluck, Richard C. and C. Direlle Baird. 1980. Agricultural Energetics.
AVI Publishing Co., Westport, Ct.
Lovins, Amory B. 1977. Soft Energy Paths. Harper Colophon Books, New York.
ECONOMICS, VALUES, AND POLICY
Accounting for energy in the biosphere. Looking at the value assumptions
that we make. Paying more attention to where we put our boundaries. This
reminds me of the conversations that we used to have at the NSF meetings of
the RANN Advisory Committee. I was serving on that committee for a while
about five or six years ago, and Oscar Morgenstern and I were the two
'enfants terrible' who kept bashing our heads about economics and what NSF
should do to try to overhaul economic analysis. We never got anywhere.
From 1974 until 1980, I was on the Advisory Council of the Office of
Technology Assessment and tried to pursue my missionary work there by
developing the methodology of technology assessment. I tried to get the point
across that an economic feasibility and technological feasibility approach
might be a very small module in a policy analysis. However, you probably
need about 10 other cuts; along all kinds of other dimensions. Somehow or
other, if technology assessment was going to be of any use or any different
than cost-benefit, the policy makers would have to really go 3-D and
cinemascope. Of course, we haven't gotten very far with that either. In the
late 1960s I started writing articles, mostly in financial and business
journals, places like the Harvard Business Review and the Financial Analysis
Journal, because I thought it was better to approach business people who were
making these kinds of decisions. I ended up by doing two books. One, which
was a collection of these articles, came out in 1978 called Creating
Alternative Futures and the subtitle was "The End of Economics." I had
decided that the problem was how to delimit the economic method. I concluded
that there was no way of expanding the economic method as far as it needed to
go, and economics was already exhibiting "disciplinary emperialism." I decided
that economics was colonizing all of these other policy debates in a quite
inappropriate way. Mostly because of the overproduction and thus oversupply
of economists, they were all trying to get into the policy arena and society
didn't really need them. Nobody knew how to recycle them, because what
happens is that their heads get messed up. It's like the training that one
gets to be a lawyer. Once trained, a lawyer sees the world in adversary
terms from that moment on.
How, I think that Dr. Costanza's work is very useful and he is keeping
economists in the game and taking them quite a bit further. This was also
my approach. Let's bash them with the Second Law! That was my approach.
Let's teach them physics! The first thing I tried to do along that line was
to hold a conference at the University of Chicago in the Economics
Department in 1965 and one of Tom Odum's colleagues, Chet Kylstra, attended.
I set up this debate between Chet Kylstra doing energy analysis and one of
your typical economists from the National Bureau of Economic Research. He
was trying to improve GNP very incrementally by reaching out and pulling in
a few more variables, but only the ones that he understood. It was like
ships passing in the night and it is still very much the same kind of thing.
I agree with Dr. Costanza that the real problem is the boundaries. The
interdisciplinary in the argument wants to deal with the boundaries and most
economists want to deal with the assumptions. I very soon realized that
one of the problems that makes the debate very difficult is that economics
is not a science and that there are all of these physical scientists trying
to have dialogues with economists as if it were a science. Just because
economists have a lot of pseudo-mathematics and a lot of pseudo-rigor around
a lot of totally untenable assumptions, scientists assume it is worth having
a dialogue with these people. So what I was trying to do was to expose their
assumptions so that people could see that, actually, economics is the anti-
thesis of a physical science. A science, after all, is supposed to proceed
by either verification or disproof, but with economic assumptions, you can
neither verify nor disprove them. You know, they're all sort of floating
around up in the air: for example, economic assumptions don't subscribe to
the laws of thermodynamics. So what has happened is that economics has
become a 300-year-old trash basket of unverifiable and undisprovable
So basically, my view is that there is no real way that you can expand
economics much beyond the direction that you're going and the direction that
Bruce Hannon and Dr. Herendeen had been going. When you get into the social
relationships, then you get into this whole fuzzy area which lan pointed out:
of positional logic, and that's the way we're learning that the world actually
is now. All the logic derives from the position you are in the system and so
the benefit to me is a cost to you, and that's what politics is about. It's
how we somehow harmonize all those values and come up with some rough idea
or policy. I have a particularly good example:
Two years ago, I fostered a little symposium with the Office of Technology
Assessment and the Library of Congress. This was when the economists, feeling
threatened, tried to see that they were losing the ball to the people doing
technology assessment. Their thrust consisted of persuading the Carter
administration that they should apply cost-benefit analysis to the efficacy
of government regulations. They came full circle and were trying to get the
whole thing back into the ball park of economic analysis. I was fearfully
upset about this because I could see that all the progress we'd been making
shaking the government policy makers' faith in economists was about to come to
naught, and they were about to put this piece of legislation through that
required a cost-benefit analysis over every piece of regulation, which they
termed an "Inflation Impact Statement."
I don't have to tell you what the problem was . that it was easy to
quantify the costs of these regulations to producers by spending an enormous
amount of money through the American Enterprise Institute and various other
business-oriented think tanks. However, they were not looking at the cost to
consumers of not regulating. If you looked at the costs of not regulating,
you find, of course, they're a whole hell of a lot higher. Nobody was paid
to do that kind of analysis. Furthermore, that doesn't even get to the other
side of the question: Who's quantifying the benefits of the regulation, in
better health or whatever? Well, there's only a few economists doing good
work on that, for example, Lester Lave and Edward Seskin (see Chapter 10
"Dissecting the Declining Productivity Flap," Politics of the Solar Age
(1981) p. 283-321).
I decided the only thing to do to derail this piece of legislation was
to throw a monkey wrench into the thing which would point out the value sets
that were at work here. There were all the people at one side of this issue
at the symposium who came from the Business Round Table, saying that
regulations cost $60 billion, regulations cost $40 billion, and all of this
sort of thing. On the other side, there were all of these people from OSHA
and the Library of Congress trying to deal with the other side of the
argument. The monkey wrench that I threw in was really the only thing that
one could do. It was . "Have we defined a regulation?" If we're going to
have a law passed, we'd better define a regulation. I noticed the people from
the Business Round Table were making open season on EPA, OSHA, and so I said,
"Why not evaluate the costs and benefits of the regulations of the Security
and Exchange Commission? Why aren't their regulations evaluated this same
way? They cost billions of taxpayers' dollars a year and without them you
couldn't maintain all of your capital markets. The commission provides
services to the business community, which, if they had to be paid for, would
make the business community look pretty sick. The Reagan administration has
now begun to set "user fees" on some similar services to the private sector,
e.g., for irrigation water. So we got into this whole discussion and, of
course, nobody could agree on what constituted a regulation. That's the
value argument at the macro level. That's why I believe there's going to be
no way, really, of expanding economics to map these social relationships.
This is the essence of politics, and basically, even if you can get good
energy numbers in there and you can get good ecosystem-type values, you're
never going to deal with the problem. The problem is not only the competing
value sets and the cultural assumptions, but the enormous error of monetiza-
tion that economics can never overcome. Monetization is only half the story.
For, when you look globally at world production, consumption, investment, and
capital formation, well over 50 percent of it is still outside of monetization.
I mean rural agriculture. I mean projects that people build for themselves
irrigation projects, storing seed, and building schools, not to mention
volunteer work in households and communities, parenting children, etc.
There's a group at the University of Sussex in Britain that is beginning
to try to map the informal economy. I call it the "formal" versus the
"informal economy," and I've spent a lot more time looking at that in The
Politics of the Solar Age (1981), because I really don't believe there's any
way that we can talk about this in economic language. We're going to have to
talk about it in the mother tongue.
One of the best recent books, Dialogue on Wealth and Welfare (Pergamon),
is by an economist who did transcend his discipline, Orio Giarini. The kind
,of numbers that he comes up with, which obviously are not "rigorous" (there's
a whole problem here in this dialogue . we're all using kind of counterfeit
numbers and values. We just have to. There's no way of getting this to be
really rigorous), suggest that 80 percent of all of the capital formation on
the planet is not monetized, let alone over 50 percent of the world's
production and consumption is not monetized. So of what use is economic
analysis going to be if it leaves out over half of the data?
What I am stressing is that all this transcends the argument between
capitalism and communism. That was all a 19th century argument, because it
doesn't matter whether the monetarization is in rubles or yen or dollars or
kopecks. It's no longer East or West. It's now North and South. The
dialogue that has to go on now is over what constitutes "development."
So that's where I find I've moved my interests now. That dialogue,
basically, is going on in the Southern hemisphere. I've been going to a lot
of conferences in the Southern hemisphere and probably like some of you, I'm
going to the one in Nairobi in August on renewable resources. I find,
basically, the whole value set which is being recalibrated now goes beyond
GNP and to the whole idea of basic human needs and all of the other ways of
measuring human welfare and the success of societies.
I think that creativity is going to move to the Southern hemisphere. We
have very little to teach here in the Northern hemisphere. I think that what
we're going to see happen in the next couple of decades is that the Southern
hemisphere, what we used to call third-world countries, has this wonderful
opportunity that they're beginning to see now. An opportunity not only to
redefine development, but to go straight to the solar age. They don't have
to make the very wasteful detour through nuclear fission and all of the
rinky-dink technology that we developed that doesn't work.
One last word on this whole business about where does that leave the
research agenda in the Northern hemisphere, specifically in the U.S. I think
that there is a tremendous amount of need to continue this debate to help
economists understand the limitations of their discipline and that all
methodologies have a range of applicability, including economics. You can't
have this knee-jerk methodology just because you were taught cost-benefit,
that you promiscuously apply to every possible system.
I just came from a symposium on the west coast that was a memorial for
Erich Jantsch. Some of you may know his work. I think that his work, his
last book, The Self Organization of the Universe, is probably the last best
word on systems concepts. Ilya Prigogine came from Brussels to give the
keynote memorial lecture. A group of us sat around kicking this whole thing
around, including Heinz Von Foerster, and Wes Churchman, and some of the
people who were in at the beginning of the systems movement. They were
discussing the whole problem of what they consider is now an inappropriate
focus on equilibrium thermodynamics. We all know, of course, that entropy
is not the whole story. I find that I'm going to have to write a book with
that title because it really is necessary. Today Jeremy Rifkin is running
around bashing economists with his book, Entropy, and I encouraged him to do
that because I want to stop doing that. I'm terribly bored with it. I've
done it for 15 years. I was trying to explain to Prigogine that there really
is a two-stage problem with economists. First, you have to teach them about
the Second Law. Only then can you take them to non-equilibrium thermodynamics
and the thermodynamics of living systems. They would be all too happy to jump
directly to non-equilibrium thermodynamics and say, "There you are our
technological substitution model works after all. As a resource becomes
scarce, brilliant human beings think up something new and we have a little
flip, a little fluctuation, and the system goes on forever." I told Prigogine
that I was really worried about the way his work is being used. He's being
trotted out now by all the technological optimists who say that, basically,
he's repealed the Second Law. But of course, he hasn't.
However, since the Nobel Prize was awarded to Ilya Prigogine in 1977
for his theoretical work in modelling non-equilibrium, dissipativee
structures" (i.e., living systems existing far from equilibrium states, that
can achieve increasing order through fluctuations), it has been assumed by
many information theorists that the critique of economics by classical
thermodynamicists has thus been invalidated. Accordingly, many technological
optimists now cite Prigogine's work (somewhat promiscuously, as I have
discussed with Prigogine himself) in order to buttress their traditional
economic view of substitution of resources as some become scarce, via
continuous rates of technological innovation. Thus, the lesson of classical
thermodynamicists which economists have not yet taken to heart is becoming
avoided and lost. Yet, before economists are ready to learn about non-
equilibrium thermodynamics and understand, rather than misuse Prigogine's
great contribution, they must first learn classical thermodynamics and
I take a balanced view of this debate: i.e., classical thermodynamics
is a complementary to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, rather than espousing
the view that they are exclusionary concepts as in current Aristotilian logic.
The crux of the matter is that if a culture defines its "success" in material
terms, it will indeed be bound by the classical Entropy Law and will
eventually face a "Trial by Entropy" (see my paper "The Entropy State,"
Planning Review, 1974). However, to the extent that a culture defines its
"success" in other non-material dimensions, it can continue evolving as an
intelligent organism within and responsive to the biosphere. In these cases,
the models of Prigogine, Varela, Lovelock, Margulis, Maturana, von Foerster,
Bateson, et al. of autopoetic, living systems and morphogenesis are more
While this debate rages in the scientific community and seems abstract,
it is nevertheless crucial to the groundrules of an emerging society based
on knowledge, renewable resources, and able to function within ecological
tolerances. Information theory is not yet adequate, being too mechanistic,
and has not moved beyond Claude Shannon in its inability to distinguish
information quantity from information quality (see p. 60 of my Creating
Alternative Futures). This quantity-based definition of information (bits)
obscures the fact that not all information is negentropic, as is carelessly
assumed in many cases. In fact, information is just as likely to be dis-
ordering and entropic, e.g., deceptive advertising, propaganda, dis-
information, violence on TV, and other forms of amplified ignorance.
So, anyway, that is the reason that we need many more symposia, but
I'm a little less sanguine, I think, than Professor Herendeen, who believes
it will take one symposium to get it done. I think it's going to go on for
the rest of the century.
PROPOSAL FOR CONFERENCES) TO EVALUATE THE USEFULNESS
OF ECOENERGETICS FOR POLICY
Energy Research Group
University of Illinois
I am interested in policy applications, if any, of energy-economic
analysis. As I see it at a distance, various claims are made for
"ecoenergetics" as an integrated, single-numeraire scheme for making policy
decisions. Close up, the claims seem less ambitious (which is true of other
evaluation schemes, too).
The attached sketch indicates humans, the environment, and several
"methods" of evaluating the connection between them. Economics occupies
a rather important place, for better or for worse. Values are not completely
coincident with economics. Recently energy analysis ("conventional," based
only on fossil fuels), as practiced by Slesser (see the IFIAS Report, 1974),
Chapman (U.K.) Energy Research Group (Illinois), Institute for Energy Analysis
(Oak Ridge), and others, has made some claims.
The above three schemes (economics, values, energy analysis) are far
from being strongly connected to the environment. Environmental analysis has
traditionally used the "laundry list" approach, in which various indicators
are cataloged (diversity, primary production, number of trout, etc., etc.).
Only a few of these are integrated into policy decisions (since they are
difficult to quantify in monetary terms or because they are just too numerous).
Ecoenergetics in principle solves this problem by first, making explicit and
comprehensive the connection of the sun, the environment, and humans; and
second, using a single numeraire, solar energy equivalents. As such it is
The solid lines on the sketch indicate relatively rigorous disciplines
or connections. As I see it, economics and the business of environmental
monitoring are fairly well established. The dotted lines represent less
rigorous, more tenuous connections. For example, the connection between
energy analysis and economics is weak (in fact, energy analysis was begun as
an alternative to economic analysis). Likewise, due to its use of controver-
sial quality factors, its treatment of human labor, and its large and
apparently still-expanding system boundary, ecoenergetics still appears to me
rather loosely attached to environmental dynamics.
Of the links that I have shown, I suggest efforts to strengthen three,
indicated in the sketch by the letter "S". It is possible that new links may
be made, e.g., one from ecoenergetics to values bypassing economics but
for now I wish to scrutinize the ones I've indicated, since there is something
S STRENGTHEN LINK
'- VALUEST ..~
to scrutinize. (J. Berger mentioned a link from ecoenergetics to regional
environmental planning (which depends on values) at this workshop but it
does not seem yery well developed now). The energy analysis economics
link has benefited from recent work by William Baumol at New York University.
Costanza's recent Science paper makes a good effort to connect ecoenergetics
and economics but still falls short.
Research agenda. To foster the eventual strengthening of the three links
I do not now propose more research. I suggest a small number of small (I 10
participants, preferably about 6), but extremely intensive conferences whose
goal is to present a concise, conerent evaluation of the state of the art
with particular emphasis on policy use. The point is to consolidate the
results of a decade's work into what is now considered useful. Because of
the three links I have chosen, there should be (at minimum) representatives
of three backgrounds:
2. energy analysis
A first conference should include these. A second conference should
include a policy maker.
The conference should be structured to assure a coherent, written output:
1. It should be held in a location with few diversions hence not
a pretty place, not in a cultural hot spot: no Aspens, no San Franciscos.
2. Participants should live at close quarters. I wasn't serious about
locking everyone in the same room with no food or water for 72 hours,
but I would hope for close and extended contact so that prejudices come
3. A stipend should be paid to participants after delivery and approval
of the final document, as evaluated by the funding agency with a specific
policy criterion. I'm not facetious here, the point is useful output.
Why not pay for it? (Consensus is not necessary, but "journalistic"
Closing comment. I believe that planning and individuals are looking
at other criteria beyond economics. Under the pressure of time, though,
they tend to fall back on the familiar and manageable, which often means
economics. Ecoenergetics, in particular, claims to offer a coherent
alternative. The conference would provide an up-to-date evaluation.
REGIONAL LAND USE, ENERGY, LIMITING FACTORS AND CARRYING CAPACITY
Jeffrey M. Klopatek
Department of Botany and Microbiology
Arizona State University
The organization of the landscape in the United States is characterized
by a mosaic of differing elements ranging from totally natural communities
to totally man-subsidized structures. Presently, the natural component (that
area still covered by natural vegetation) of states in the U.S. ranges from
only 8% in Iowa to 96% in Nevada (Fig. 1). (Klopatek et al., 1979). The
greatest dissipation of natural systems has resulted not only from a conversion
to urban systems, but from the conversion to subsidized primary producer systems
that are used to support man and his urban environments, e.g., agriculture,
improved pasture, plantation forestry. As both subsidized primary producer
systems and natural systems are necessary to support human settlements, it is
highly desirable to predict what level of development a region can withstand
(i.e., what is a region's assimilative capacity for various developments or
changes in land use), or what is its carrying capacity. This paper is an
attempt to discuss some basic philosophical issues related to regional planning
and the evaluation of natural energies and resources in the carrying capacity
Planning and Energy
The availability and use of different life support resources and forms
of energy have always influenced the pattern and development of human settle-
ments. In pre-industrial times the networks and patterns of settlements were
strongly affected by the limitations placed on population by energy sources
(e.g., water, wood, coal). Settlements were characteristically small, with a
concentrated overall structure and proximity of buildings and decided nearness
to daily functions. Pre-industrial man had no choice but to make energy and
other resources a major consideration in any decision related to his settlements
With the advent of the industrial revolution, America's settlements were
no longer tied to self-supporting energy and resource systems. This resulted
in dramatic changes in the overall pattern and structures of settlements
which in part can be attributed to the Federal housing and transportation
policies prior to the 1970's.
During this spreading out of urban complexes that corresponded to the
period of cheap fossil fuels, little attention was paid to the limiting
factors that would eventually influence the growth of these urban centers
and communities. Nor was attention paid to the assimilative capacities of
the surrounding natural systems to absorb the gaseous, liquid and solid
effluents from the urban residential and industrial sectors. This last point
is most clearly demonstrated by the current water situation in the U.S.
(Adler et al. 1981). However, with the knowledge gained from the 1973 oil
embargo that fossil fuels were underpriced and limited, planners have placed
a new emphasis on planning and energy consumption. Much of this emphasis has
been placed on architectural modifications or site-specific layout designs.
Rout (1981) points out that the recent revival in regional architecture
has resulted from the escalating cost of energy. As shown in Table 1, the
typical urban sprawl pattern is the least energy efficient (Real Estate Resch.
Corp. 1974, U.S. EPA 1974, Carrol et al. 1977). It should be noted in
Table 1 that not only is energy utilized more in the urban sprawl but also the
water consumption is greater. Thus, definite relationships are shown to exist
between land use and energy and resource utilization. These relationships could
then be used at the local level by planners and administrators in establishing
zoning and subdivision regulations.
Bryan (1973) showed that the larger the urban size the greater, propor-
tionately, the economic and energy costs. As a regult of these disproportionate
costs, there are numerous large urban complexes that cannot maintain the
necessary inflow of energy and economic subsidies needed to maintain their
structure; New York City is a case in point. Figure 3 depicts a comparison
of a natural and cultural systems and the structure they can maintain relative
to their carrying capacity or maintainable steady state level. The question
which then arises is how can the regional carrying capacity be determined and
what concepts can be used in the integration of cultural systems (and their
appropriate technologies) with the surrounding natural systems.
Odum et al. (1976) discuss a methodology that utilizes energy procedures
for regional planning that attempts to yield a ratio for cultural and natural
systems in a steady state. While this method appears valid, its theoretical
assumptions have been viewed iwth varying amounts of skepticism (Georgescu-
Roegens 1977) and hence its limited employment. Berg and Tukel (1980) recognize
that (similar to Odum et al. 1976) energy density (the delivery of power and
natural resources to high-energy locations) is more critical than population
density. The idea of carrying capacity must include not only the question of
necessary per capital supplies but also the quality of the energetic life-system
for policy-making regarding energy and resources and define a bioregion as a
geographical province with a marked ecological and often cultural unity.
Since the renewable energy resources are inextricably connected with the
local landscape (sun, win, water and vegetation), energy supply planning at
the bioregional level offers good potential. Furthermore, Bryson and Ross
(1973) clearly demonstrated that the use of energy by populations was inversely
proportional to the mean annual temperature at the population center. In other
words, the colder a place is the more energy (for residential purposes) is
consumed. If we add up the total annual heating and cooling degree days (650)
COMMUNITY COST ANALYSIS
Table 1. WATER AND ENERGY CONSUMPTION
Annual Consumption of Water-
Gallons per year
908, 550, 000
Annual Consumption of Energy 2/
Natural gas, billion BTUs per year/
Electricity, billion BTUs per yeag-
Gasoline, billion BTUs per year-/
Total Billion BTUs per year
50 Percent PUD,
50 Percent Sprawl Sprawl Mix
908, 550, 000
908, 550, 000
Pattern (10, 000 Units)
1,095,000,000 1,168,000,000 762, 850,000
1 385. 540
3, 740. 240
1/ Estimated at 330 gallons per household per day as average usage for neighborhood A, 290 for B, 250 for C, 200 for D, 175 for E extrapolated to reflect
community housing mixes and annual consumption.
Source: Derived with reference to A Study of Residential Water Use (ref. no. 11-014).
2/ Consumption of energy as follows:
I II III IV V VI
Natural gas Therms per year 9,994, 180 9,994, 180 9,994, 180 13,470,900 13,470,900 7,951,770
Electricity KWH per year 220, 046, 750 220, 046, 750 220, 046, 750 295, 227,080 295, 227, 080 177, 251, 577
Gasoline Gallons per year 8, 200, 333 9,879, 333 11, 777, 333 10, 658, 000 13, 115, 667 6, 594,333
For derivation see direct cost analyses for gas and electricity; for gasoline use, assumes 15 miles per gallon for total vehicle miles shown in the air quality
3/ 1 therm = 100, 000 BTUs.
4/ 1 kilowatt hour = 3,413 BTUs.
5/ 1 gallon of gasoline = 130, 000 BTUs.
From Real Estate Rsrch. Corp. (1974).
ORNL-DWG 77- 0949
- CARRYING CAPACITY
(STEADY STATE LEVEL)
--------------- CARRYING CAPACITY
Fig. 2. The level of structure maintainable in a natural (a) and
a cultural (b) system. The natural system evolves a limit to the
level it can support based on the natural available energies. The
cultural (man-dominated) system artificially increases its structure
at the cost of maintenance until the energy subsidization is no
longer available and the structure depreciates.
we can see that the colder northern and mountainous regions of the U.S. do
in fact require more energy to compensate for the climatic factors than do the
southern regions (Fig. 3). Therefore, the sunbelt states offer significant
energy advantages to people residing there. But do they?
As Boulding (1981) discussed, there are a number of other limiting factors
besides energy that affect production and maintenance of structure which include
materials, information, space, as well as energy. These limiting factors are
clearly obvious in a number of regions that are energy rich in terms of natural
heating, cooling and solar radiation. The Los Angeles basin region is an
example of a space limited system (and assimilative capacity of the surrounding
natural systems). Additionally, this region and the Florida region are
extremely material-limited by water.
As the debate continues regarding the energy value of water (Gilliland and
Fenner 1981), a liter of water is a liter of water, regardless of how it's
evaluated. The average person living in the temperate zone requires about two
liters of water a day for his survival. Thus, it is a limiting factor that
should be included along with other materials and energy in determining the
natural carrying capacity of a region. Indeed, it is intimately tied to the
assimilative capacity of the system, with the Lake Tahoe area being a classic
example (West. Fed'l Reg'l Council 1979).
Different regions of the country afford varying amounts of natural energy
contributions to the human-urbanized systems. However, on the surface, these
natural energy contributions may be misleading without including the limiting
factors inherent in these regions. Clearly, lessons need to be learned from
the ontogeny and structure of the natural systems which the cultural systems
are replacing. Eventually, we must link the natural occurring energy, and
the limiting factors to the assimilative capacity of these systems. Then,
and only then, can we discover what are the carrying capacities of the various
regions of the country.
Alder, J., W.J. Cook, S. McGuire, G.C. Lubow, M. Kasindorf, F. Maier and
H. Morris. The browning of America. Newsweek 97(8):26-30, 35-37
(Feb. 23, 1981).
Berg, P., and G. Tukel. 1980.
context for Public Policy.
of California. Planet Drun
Boulding, K.E. 1981.
J.A. Dillon, E.G.
Ann Arbor Science
Renewable energy and bioregions:
Prepared for the Solar Business
SFoundation, San Francisco, Ca.
The unimportance of energy.
Mitsch, R.K. Ragadi and R.W.
Publishers, Inc., Ann Arbor,
In Energetics and Systems.
Mich. (In Press).
Bryan, W. 1973. The effects of growth on the urban environment. In Land use,
energy flow, and decision making in human society. Vol. 2, Interdisciplinary
Systems Group. Univ. California, Davis, Ca.
Bryson, R.A. and J.E. Ross. 1973. On the nature of environmental concern.
Working Paper 3. Inst. for Environmental Studies. Univ. Wisconsin,
Carroll, T.O., R. Nathans, P.R. Palmedo and R. Stern.
energy workbook. Brookhaven National Laboratory.
1977. The planner's
Upton, N.Y. BNL 50633.
Georgescu-Roegen, N. 1977. The steady state and ecological salvation: A
thermodynamic analysis. Bioscience 27:266-271.
Gilliland, M.W., and L.B. Fenner. 1981. A theoretical approach to valuing
water for energy development in the Colorado River basin. In Energy
and ecological modelling. W.J. Mitsch, R.W. Bosserman and J.M. Klopatek
(eds.) Elsevier Press, Amsterdan, Netherlands (In Press).
Jackson, C.I. 1978. Human settlements and energy. Pergamon Press, N.Y.
Klopatek, J.M., R.J. Olson, C.J. Emerson, and J.L. Joness.
conflicts with natural vegetation in the United States.
Odum, H.T., M. Brown and R. Costanza. 1976. Developing a steady state for
man and land: energy procedures for regional planning. pp. 343-361.
In Science for Better Environment (HESC), Kyoto. Published by the
Asahi Evening News, C.P.O. Box 555, Tokyo, Japan.
Real Estate Research Corporation. 1974. The costs of sprawl. Prepared for
CEQ, HUD and EPA. U.S. Government Printing Office. Washington, D.C.
Rout, L. 1981. Regional architecture revives, spurred by expensive energy.
The Wall Street Journal. Apr. 22, 1981. pp. 31.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1979. Key land use issues
facing the United States. Prepared by U.S. EPA by Harbridge House,
Western Federal Regional Council. 1979. Lake Tahoe Environmental
Assessment. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1979-693-787. 240 pp.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF MARGINAL AREAS
George A. Knox
University of Canterbury
Christchurch, New Zealand
As human populations grow there will be increasing pressure for resource
use and development of marginal areas. This is already taking place at an
accelerated rate in Southeast Asia where coastal swamp forests are being
exploited at ever increasing rates. Tropical coastal swamps and their related
inshore waters are one of the last remaining, widely distributed under-exploited
resources of the Asian humid tropics.
As an example of these resources, on the east coast of Sumatra there are
45,000 km2 of mangrove and freshwater swamp forests extending as far as 90-100
km inland (Sobur et al., 1975). Organic peat soils occur in Indonesia along
the eastern coast of Sumatra, western and southern coasts of Kalimantan, and
the southern coasts of Irian Jaya and cover 16.5 million ha (Driessen and
Soepraptohardjo, 1974). In addition there are 8.5 million ha of lagoons and
estuaries that could be used for fish culture (Hora and Pillay, 1962).
Indonesia is looking towards these areas to provide employment for a rapidly
growing labor force and for providing both products for export and food for
the people. Apart from artisanal fishing in the estuaries and coastal waters,
the major resource uses of these coastal marginal areas center on the
exploitation of the freshwater and mangrove swamp forests for timber and
paper pulp production, the clearing of freshwater swamp forests for the
development of tidally irrigated rice paddies, and the development of brackish
water fish ponds in the mangrove swamps (Collier, 1978; Hanson and Koesoebiono,
Even in developed countries where population growth rates are slower,
population shifts and the increasing need to conserve good agricultural land
has led to an accelerated development of marginal lands for housing and
industry. The attractiveness of the coastal zone for housing developments
that permit a distinctive lifestyle has seen in many parts of the United States
and elsewhere the destruction of substantial areas of coastal marshlands.
How may the concept of marginality be defined? We may define it in
ecological terms, that is, those natural ecosystems that are ecologically
fragile or especially sensitive to perturbations or stress. They are naturally
stressed systems in which additional stresses can prove particularly disruptive.
Alternatively in those marginal areas that have had a long history of human
settlement a cultural definition can be used. According to Ruddle and
Grandstaff (1978) marginal areas are "generally characterized by dispersed,
often culturally heterogeneous populations that use traditional low-energy
transformation technologies to manipulate resources for their own consumption."
Often, these traditional resource systems are not connected, or not profitably
connected, to modern market structures. Development economists, on the other
hand, tend to consider marginal lands as those where any economic return from
the land is low owing to its low productivity. On a global basis the three
principal types of marginal areas would include tropical highlands, tropical
coastal zones, and arid, semi-arid, or drought-prone areas.
Criteria for the Development of Marginal Areas
Biswas (1979) puts forward seven general criteria for the development of
marginal areas, namely:
1. Sustainabilitv. Any strategy to develop marginal areas must be sustainable
on a long-term basis. Once a marginal area is destroyed restoration is
difficult, expensive and time-consuming, and often impossible.
2. Flexibility. Often because of lack of knowledge and technical expertise
it is difficult to forecast accurately the secondary and tertiary effects of
project development. This means that some errors will be committed during the
development process. Hence, it is essential that planning and implementation
strategies should be flexible, not rigid. According to Futtado (1979)
flexibility depends on (1) monitoring the state of the resources in relation
to the impact of economic development on the environment and the socio-economic
system (Dasman et al., 1973; Poore, 1973) and (2) continually revising
ecological guidelines for economic development through relevant research
(Sewell and Forster, 1976). This flexibility in planning involves flexible
strategies such as changing management policies from time to time, and
developing different management systems for each ecosystem type and for other
3. Equity. Equity policy seeks to provide the majority of people with basic
human necessities beyond an income which sustains life: adequate shelter and
nutrition, appropriate education, training, health and social services.
(Ruddle and Grandstaff, 1978; Rondinelli and Ruddle, 1976). It aims at
improving access to resources (educational, financial, technological) necessary
to continued improvement of the human condition. It is important to consider
the distribution of benefits and the nature of the beneficiaries (Biswas, 1973).
4. Appropriate Technology. The ways in which technology is used can make
the most profound difference to the development of marginal areas. Ruddle
and Graddstaff (1978) contrast transferential development in which technologies
found successful in the developed world are transferred to the developing world
with transformational development which seeks to increase incrementally the
productivity of indigenous institutions and practices, reinforcing and
building on those appropriate to local conditions and needs, and adaptive to
changing circumstances, gradually displacing those that are not (Rondelli and
Ruddle, 1976). The agricultural history of the recent past is replete with
examples in which straight technology transfers have created more problems
than they have solved.
5. Environmental constraints. The planning of developments must recognize
the limitations imposed by the environmental conditions in the area.
6. Strengthening of local capabilities. Participation of the people in the
planning process is essential.
7. Information. Management is the process of converting information into action.
Management success depends not only on the quality and extent of the information
that is available, but also on what information is selected for use and is
ultimately channelled into the planning and decision-making process (Biswas, 1976).
As more information becomes available and thus the system becomes better
understood, the planning process should be flexible enough to enable a change
of direction to be taken if this seems necessary.
Characteristics of the Present Stage of Development of the
Coastal Swampland of Southeast Asia
A number of features are characteristic of the present situation concerning
the development of Southeast Asian coastal swamplands.
1. Lack of knowledge of the dynamic functioning of tropical coastal ecosystems.
Much of our information on the dynamic functioning of coastal ecosystems has
been derived from studies of northern temperate coasts. Our knowledge of
mangrove ecosystems is largely derived from investigations of the low diversity
mangrove wetlands in southern United States and the Caribbean. While some
general principles will apply, we cannot directly translate this experience
to the high diversity systems of the tropics. Development is thus taking place
in a situation where our understanding of tropical coastal ecosystems is
insufficient to adequately predict long-term environmental impacts.
2. The complexity of the interactions in tropical coastal zones. Tropical
coastal zone ecosystems are characterized by high species diversity as well
as by the great complexity of the interactions within the natural ecosystems,
within the manipulated and developed systems, and between all these systems.
Currently these interactions are little understood. If we are to successfully
manage these systems on a sustainable basis our understanding of these
interactions needs to be greatly increased.
3. The scale of the coastal zone development projects. Transformation of
coastal freshwater swamp forests is proceeding throughout Southeast Asia at an
accelerating rate. Plans for the production of wood chips for paper pulp mills
from mangrove forests could result in the cutting of large areas of virgin
forest. In Indonesia there are plans to convert over the next five to ten
years over one million hectares of swamp forest into agricultural land. Over
180,000 hectares of mangrove forest have been converted to brackish water
fish ponds and this area could double in the next decade.
4. The pace of development. The time factor of development is too rapid to
allow for experimental work which would answer critical questions concerning
optional patterns of environmental management. Ad hoc decisions based on
inadequate information will be necessary but it is essential that the infor-
mation that is available is utilized.
5. The inadequacy of much of the present planning for development. The scope
of much of the present planning is too narrow and therefore planners are
likely to overlook or ignore key problems and externalities of development.
6. The fragmentation of decision making and regulatory structures. Despite
the expressed interest of the government in pursuing only development plans
that are environmentally sound, the actual decision making and regulatory
structure for resource and environmental problems is fragmentary, while
coordination among implementing agencies is sometimes lacking or ineffective.
It is clear that population pressures and demands for land and other natural
resources, especially for timber products, will result in the transformation of
coastal swamplands over the next decade or so on a scale not previously
experienced. There is therefore an urgent need to develop as rapidly as possible
(1) the necessary data base upon which decisions on resource use can be based,
(2) an understanding of the dynamic functioning of tropical coastal zone
ecosystems, (3) strategies for the integrated ecological resource management
of these areas, (4) local infra-structures for such management, and (5)
training of local expertise in the wide range of skills that will be required
for such management.
Traditional Versus Large Scale Development
The inherent stability and rich productivity of the coastal swamplands of
tropical Asia has long been used to sustain small human communities, many using
sophisticated, traditional systems of food procurement. These indigenous
communities have evolved resource use systems largely based on artisinal fishing
and cropping systems adapted to the prevailing ecological conditions.
Spontaneous migrants, the Banjarese in Kalimantan and the Buginese in
Sumatra, have evolved development methods and cropping systems which are
ecologically suited to the coastal swamplands, and which produce yield of rice
much higher than those achieved by the transmigrants in the official government
development schemes (Collier, 1978, 1980; Collier et al., 1977; Vadya, 1980).
The question can then be posed, might it not be better to promote the development
of coastal swamplands along traditional lines rather than undertake large
scale settlement projects with considerable inherent problems. If development
is to proceed, then the reasons for the comparative success of these more
ecologically based systems needs to be understood, and such systems refined
and applied to future projects. Coastal swamp forests can be exploited on a
continuing basis for a range of useful products. Such sustainable resource uses
may be preferable to the current and projected large scale exploitation of the
forests for timber, or for chips for pulp mills.
A number of investigators (Collier, 1978, 1979; Collier et al., 1977;
Vadya, 1979, 1980) have argued that plans for the development of an area need
to be based on knowledge of what is already there, and what is happening
there, in the context of a broad historical and spatial framework. They
consider, for example, that insufficient attention has been paid to the
significance of Buginese colonization of Sumatran coastal swamplands for
development planning. Vadya (1980) notes that in the Jambi coastal region of
Sumatra the Buginese achieved a peak rice production 7 tonnes per ha after
a period of five years. In 1977 this area which had begun to be developed
only in 1972, had a population of almost 5,500 and 20 canals for irrigation
in operation, and another 20 either planned, or under construction. Buginese
land opening has been comparatively rapid elsewhere in the Sumatran swampland.
In some places the government has moved away Buginese settlers who had been
opening up land at no cost to the government to make room for Javanese
transmigrants who were being settled at a cost of several thousands of dollars
per hectare (Collier, 1978). Vadya (1980) makes a plea for those engaged in
official settlement projects to work with people such as the Buginese settlers
of Sumatra's coastal swamplands rather than ignoring them, or regarding them
as an obstruction to the implementation of the project plans.
Research Needs for Appropriate Resource Utilization
and Management of Marginal Areas
Amongst possible future research needs the following priority areas can
1. Understanding the ways in which indigenous communities in marginal areas
have evolved resource utilization systems adapted to prevailing ecological
conditions. The reasons for the comparative success of such ecologically based
systems need to be understood and the information obtained applied to future
2. Elucidation of the linkages between marginal areas and adjacent productive
natural and man-modified systems. We need better methods for determining the
value of marginal areas so that cases for restricted development or non-
development can be sustained.
3. Determination of techniques for the determination of the carrying capacity
of marginal areas.
4. Development of methods for incorporating flexibility into the planning
Biswas, A.K. 1973. Socio-economic considerations in water resource planning.
Water Resources Bulletin, 9(4):736-754.
Biswas, A.K. 1979. Management of traditional resource systems in marginal
areas. Environmental Conservation, 6(4):257-264.
Collier, W.L. 1978. Development problems and conflicts in the coastal zone
of Sumatra: Swamps are for people. Paper presented at the Programmatic
Workshop on Land-Water Interactive Systems, Bogor, September 18-22.
Collier, W.L. 1979. "Social and Economic Aspects of Tidal Swamp Land Develop-
ment in Indonesia". Development Studies Centre, Australian National
University, Occasional Paper No. 15. 68 pp.
Collier, W.L. 1980. Observations on two sea fishing villages in Sumatra and
Kalimantan. Indonesian Circle (School of Oriental and African Studies,
University of London), 22 (June 1980): 33-54.
Collier, W.L., Hadikoesworo, H. and Saropie, S. 1977. "Income, Employment,
and Food Systems in Javanese Coastal Villages". Ohio University Center
for International Studies, Southeast Asia Program, Athens, Ohio.
Dasmann, R.F., Milton, J.P. and Freeman, P.H. 1973. "Ecological Principles
for Economic Development". John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Dreissen, P.M. and Soepraptohardjo, M. 1974. "Soils for Agricultural Expansion
in Indonesia". Soil Research Institute, Bogor, Indonesia.
Furtado, J.I. 1979. The status and future of the tropical moist forest in
Southeast Asia. pp. 73-120 in C. MacAndrews and C.L. Sein (eds.)
"Developing Economies and the Environment: The Southeast Asian Experience."
McGraw Hill International Book Company, Singapore.
Hanson, A.J. and Koesoebiono. 1979. Settling coastal swamplands in Sumatra:
A case study for integrated resource management, pp. 121-178 in
C. MacAndrews and C.L. Sein (eds.) "Developing Economies and the
Environment: The Southeast Asian Experience." McGraw-Hill International
Book Company, Singapre.
Hora, S.L. and Pillay, T.V.R. 1962. "Handbook of Fish Culture in the Indo-
Pacific Region." Fisheries Biology Technical Paper No. 14. FAO, Rome.
Poore, M.E.D. 1974. "Ecological Guidelines for Development in Tropical
Forest Areas of Southeast Asia." IUCN Occasional Paper No. 10. IUCN,
Poore, M.E.D. 1975. Conservation and development. Environmental Conservation,
Rondelli, D.A. and Ruddle, K. 1876. "Urban Functions in Rural Development:
An Analysis of Integrated Spatial Development Policy." USAID,
AID/ta-C-1282. Washington, D.C.
Ruddle, K. and Grandstaff, T.B. 1978. The international potential of
traditional resource systems in marginal areas. Technological Forecasting
and Social Change, 11:119-131.
Sewell, W.R.D. and Forster, H.D. 1976. Environmental risk: Management
strategies in the developing world. Environmental Management, 1:49-54.
Sobur, A.S., Chambers, M.J., Chambers, R., Damopalii and Hanson, A.J. 1978.
Remote sensing applications in Southeast Sumatra coastal environment.
Remote sensing of the Environment, 7:281-303.
Vayda, A.P. 1979. Human ecology and economic development in Kalimantan and
Sumatra. Borneo Research Bulletin, 11(1):23-32.
Vayda, A.P. 1980. Buginese colonization of Sumatra's coastal swamplands and
its significance for development planning, pp. 80-87 in E.C.F. Bird and
A Soegiarto (eds.) "Proceedings of the Jakarta Workshop on Coastal
Resources Management." The United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan.
APPROPRIATE DEVELOPMENT AS A FUNCTION OF REGIONAL CAPACITY:
APPROPRIATE INTERFACES BETWEEN HUMANITY AND RENEWABLE NATURE FOR
A TIME OF ENERGY CONSERVATION
Mitchell J. Lavine
Center for Environmental Research
A change of the available resource base is implicit in a time when broad
new efforts are made toward energy conservation. The change toward increasing
energy conservation reflects a perception of slackening or shrinkage of the
energy embodied in the input resource flow that is available to power the
system of concern. If the existing system depends heavily on an input of
nonrenewable resources, then the new policy of conservation must cause an
increase in the direct use of nature's renewable flows. The appropriate limit
of such an increase depends upon the competitive mix of locally-available
renewable inputs and imported-to-the-system non-renewable inputs. Adding
too few imported non-renewable inputs to the local renewable base will
hamper the system from developing its full potential; however, it is
unrealistic to depend on such a high level of imported non-renewable inputs
that the mix of local and imported does not develop as much effect per unit
of import as alternative (competing) uses of the imports.
A new policy of conservation must also be based on the recognition that
the change of the available resource base requires not only more intensive
interfaces with locally-renewable flows, but also more dependence on time.
That is, in an era of shrinking resource inputs, a conservation policy must
also recognize that decreasing the system's speed of operation will help to
maximize the productive effect of the available input flow. The appropriate
new speed should match the speed of the input flow of the new mix of available
renewable and non-renewable resources. In sum, appropriate interfaces between
humanity and renewable nature for a time of energy conservation are those
which best match the renewable/non-remewable mix and the speed of the new
set of available input resource flows. Hence, the determination of appropriate
mix and speed is an integral part of defining the new appropriate interfaces.
On a regional scale, appropriate development is the aggregate of the
region's set of (appropriate) technologies. As a nation's aggregate availability
of imported and stored resources declines, the appropriate type and scale of
development is determined more and more by the capacity of the local environ-
ment to supply, on a renewable basis, the resources and services needed to
support that development. When a region depends very heavily on the import
of non-renewable resources to supplement the local environmental endowment,
then the type and scale of development appropriate to that region are to a
great extent, limited only by the ability to attract more imports. At the
other extreme, when a region can no longer depend at all on such imports, then
the type .and scale of development appropriate to the region must be completely
limited by the local environmental endowment. Thus, knowledge of a region's
mix of imported inputs and locally-available environmental inputs is useful
for determining the region's appropriate type and scale of development,
However, at least one other factor is important in the same determination.
As the speed of a region's aggregate resource input flow declines toward the
limit set by the local natural environmental endowment, the region transforms
fewer and fewer resources per unit time. As the systemwide speed of transfor-
mation decreases, the systemwide efficiency of transformation increases,
thereby counteracting to sime extent the effect of the shrinking input
resource flow. (This factor is commonly called conservation.) See Fig. 1.
Thus, the design of appropriate development of any given region must respond
to both (a) the size the mix (imported/local) of the available resource base
and (b) the speed and associated efficiency with which the region can transform
its input resources.
Research Needs to Facilitate a Better Pattern of Man and Nature
New ways are needed for evaluating a region's available resource base
in terms that are meaningful to the above determinations of both Ca)
renewable/non-renewable size and mix, and (b) speed and efficiency of resource
transformation. Embodied energy* has been proposed as a common metric for
aggregating the many different components of any region's resource base in a
way that is directly meaningful to determining the region's aggregate work
capacity. It should be just as meaningful to the appropriate development
determinations discussed above because those determinations are based on
balancing the aggregate input requirements of a region's set of technologies
with the work capacity of the available resources. When couched in embodied
energy terms, those determinations are a means of evaluating a region's
maximum possible work output per unit time, assuming a set of technologies
(i.e., development) which achieves a highly interconnected and symbiotic
organization of human-managed and natural processes. The region's optimum
work efficiency for achieving the maximum possible rate of work output is
then shown to be dependent on the rate at which the embodied energy of the
aggregate resource base can be used. In times of a shrinking resource base,
increasing conservation (i.e., increasing efficiency) would be desired
(moving toward the right on Fig. 1). In times of an expanding resource base,
decreasing conservation would be desired.
In sum, one test of what is an appropriate set of technologies (i.e.,
appropriate development) for a region in any given time involves the following
* Embodied energy is the aggregate of all direct and even remotely indirect
uses of available work involved in producing and making a component available
to a system when that system is operating under a given balance of speed and
P I P
PI j System of 0-
(Cal/yr) Transformations (Cal/yr)
Dissipation of heat at
PI (or speed)
Fig. 1. Power, speed, and efficiency relationships. (a) Transformation of
input power (PI) to output power (PO). Speed of the process equals PI
Efficiency of the process equals PO/PI. (b) Power (or speed) versus
efficiency curve. (After Odum and Pinkerton 1955)
(a) Determination of how heavily the region can depend on imports of
resources to supplement the flow of locally-available environmental inputs,
according to competitive ratios of (imported embodied energy)/(locally-
available embodied energy),
(b) Subsequent determination of the aggregate availability of embodied
energy inputs to the region (aggregate equals locally-available plus the
competitive amount of imported inputs).
(c) Determination of the region's maximum work output per unit time
(i.e. power output) achievable with the aggregate embodied energy inputs,
adjusted for efficiency changes associated with any changes of speed.
(d) Comparison of the regional power requirements of any development
proposal with the possible power achievable in the region (from (c), above).
Given the above set of tasks for testing what is appropriate development
in a region, there are four topics in particular need of further research and
1) Embodied energy evaluations of a region's input flows, from both
the local environmental endowment and the imported flow of human-managed
goods and services. Past research has had problems with double counting
and also with validated indexes or measures of the embodied energy in
human-managed goods and services.
2) Definition of the appropriate system or systems whose ratios of
(imported embodied energy)/(locally-available embodied energy) sets the
competitive limit for a region.
3) Delineation of families of power/efficiency curves relating input
power to output power for various types of regional systems operating at
various speeds (i.e. curves of the type shown in Fig. 1).
4) Comprehensive evaluation of regional power requirements of development
proposals. There has been controversy with past research concerning the
choice of appropriate boundaries. That is, how far away in time and space
should the evaluation be carried, especially when considering social and
environmental impacts (which may contribute to ultimate power requirements).
Research on all four of these topics is needed to carry out the appropriate
development test procedure described in this paper. Tasks 1 and 4 have been
started in several previous research projects. Tasks 2 and 3 are touched on
in the literature, but apparently only in concepts; both further conceptual
development and empirical data collection are needed. Although the four
topics could be researched individually, there probably would be synergistic
advantages to incorporating them in a single research program.
Browder, J.; C. Littlejohn; and D. Young. (No date). South Florida: Seeking
a Balance of Man and Nature. Center for Wetlands, the University of
Florida and Bureau of Comprehensive Planning, Division of State Planning,
Florida Department of Administration.
Costanza, R. 1980. Embodied energy and economic valuation. Science.
210:1219-1224 (12 December, 1980).
Lavine, M.J. and T.J. Butler. 1981. Energy analysis and economic analysis:
a comparison of concepts. Proceedings of the International Symposium
on Energy and Ecological Modeling. International Society of Ecological
Modelling, Copenhagen. (forthcoming)
Lavine, M.J., A.H. Meyburg, and T.J. Butler. 1981. Use of energy analysis for
assessing environmental impacts due to transportation. Transportation
Research (in press). (See also Energy Analysis Manual for Environmental
Benefit/Cost Analysis of Transportation Actions, Vol's I and II, by
M.J. Lavine, T.J. Butler, and A.H. Meyburg, National Cooperative Highway
Research Program, Washington, D.C. April 1979).
Odum, H.T. 1976. Energy quality and carrying capacity of the earth. Tropical
Ecology, 16 (1).
Odum, H.T.,-M.J. Lavine, F.C. Wang, M.A. Miller, J.F. Alexander, and T. Butler.
1981. A Manual for Using Energy Analysis for Plant Siting. Preliminary
Report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Contract NRC-04-77-123.
Center for Wetlands, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Odum, H.T. and E.C. Odum. 1981. Energy Basis for Man and Nature. McGraw Hill,
Odum, H.T. and R.C. Pinkerton. 1955. Time's speed regulator: the optimum
efficiency for maximum power output in physical and biological systems.
American Scientist, 43 (1): 331-343 (April, 1955).
STATUS OF ALGAL RECYCLING SYSTEMS
Edward P. Lincoln
Agricultural Engineering Department
University of Florida
For the majority of humanity, now located in the developing countries
of the topics, the appropriate interface with nature comes first in the
production of food. As the human population increases, the critical variable
in agriculture must eventually be the yield of edible protein. Ultimately,
the most appropriate technology in a given environment will be that which
maximizes protein yield with respect to land area, fuel input and, in many
The term "appropriate technology" has been criticized as vague or
redundant, and often carries with it a connotation of low, or unsophisticated
technology. It is obvious that a technology, or an application of science,
is inappropriate in a culture where its practitioners cannot keep it operational,
but this need not imply that such technology is too high or too sophisticated.
In an age of computers and space travel it is easy to lose sight of the fact
that some of the most sophisticated and important technology now emerging is
little else than the scientific understanding of living organisms. The recent
surge of interest of the business world in recombinant DNA technology points
out the economic potential of rather simple tools coupled with detailed
understanding of the complex and autonomous functions of a living cell.
Agriculture has always depended on the coupling of human understanding
with the autonomy and reproductive capacity of living organisms. At present,
a new area of high technology in agriculture deals with such things as
interspecies cell fusion, the biological activity of hormones, or the
insertion of plasmids, any of which is now considered sophisticated, but is
not intrinsically so, and may one day be the essence of appropriate technology.
At the moment, a more appropriate means for enlarging the human food supply is
by the most informed use of microorganisms for such purposes as nitrogen
fixation and the production of plant protein.
Although heterotrophic bacteria were the first candidates for these roles,
some attention has now shifted toward autotrophic microbes, the microalgae,
including the Cyanobacteria. In a world of vanishing energy supplies, the algae
have the desirable attribute of fixing new energy while doing useful metabolic
work. Heterotrophic microbes, by contrast, consume large amounts of chemical
energy in doing similar work.
Closing Nutrient Cycles
The following discussion focuses on a particular area of appropriate
technology, that of recycling animal wastes, and concentrates on a narrow
application of such technology, namely, the use of algae as a source of feed
protein. By focusing on the practical aspects of real systems operating on
a field scale, my aim is to lend substance to the larger concept of rejoining
industrial society with natural systems. It was on this larger concept that
the present investigation was originally based, and upon which it continues
to be modified.
An appropriate interface of industrial society with renewable nature is,
oddly enough, at the point of disposal of manure from the confined livestock
operations which have become the mainstay of the modern livestock industry.
In terms of magnitude, the problem of such waste disposal is of global signifi-
cance. The volume of manure produced each day in the U.S. is roughly ten
times that of human wastes. The U.S. daily output of manure nitrogen amounts
to 30 billion grams (Miner 1969, Hill 1974, Calvert 1974). If this were
converted to edible plant protein, it would be sufficient to meet the minimum
daily protein requirement of every human on earth.
In contrast to municipal sewage which is subjected to energy intensive
treatment, animal wastes are managed without the equivalent of sewage treatment
plants. Some 45% of this waste stream is collectible, and it is typically
in the form of wastewater up to ten times as concentrated as sewage. It there-
fore constitutes an environmental hazard of ever increasing magnitude. On the
other hand, with the application of appropriate technology and proper management
practices, it could be transformed into a resource of far-reaching economic
importance. Although manure has traditionally been used as a fertilizer in
commercial agriculture, its use for this purpose has declined markedly in
recent years, partly because chemical fertilizers have become more cost
effective, and partly because current flushing methods produce wastewater
volumes too large to transport to distant crop lands.
In intensive animal production units, retention of liquid wastes in
anaerobic lagoons followed by facultative lagoons has become standard practice.
Bacterial action reduces oxygen demand of the wastes and mineralizes organic
components which are then dispersed as gaseous C02, methane, and ammonia.
Certain of the remaining nutrients are subsequently converted to algae in the
facultative lagoon. However, the final effluent still contains high levels
of suspended solids and dissolved nutrients, hence cannot be discharged into
Recently there has been a move toward replacing anaerobic lagoons with
methane generators. These allow the recovery of methane which can be used as
a fuel. Although some 50% of the free energy contained in the wastes can be
recovered, the water treatment problem is not solved, since the digester
effluent generally contains higher concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus
than the influent.