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Ann Chim. 2005 Mar-Apr;95(3-4):143-52.

Environmental accounting for the lagoon of Venice and the case of fishing.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Biosystems Sciences, University of Siena, Via della Diana 2A, 53100 Siena, Italy.


This paper presents the application of the eMergy evaluation, introduced by H.T. Odum as an efficient methodology of environmental accounting. The results of this analysis are a part of a wider sustainability assessment for the Province of Venice realized in 2003. Within a territorial sustainability analysis, it is necessary to implement an environmental accounting method, which is able: to precisely consider the boundaries of the investigated system (spatial scale); to arbitrarily separate the life of the investigated system into periods (temporal scale); to account for both economic and natural support to a given territorial system in order to implement a sustainable management of resources; to assess all the items supporting the system on the basis of a physical unit that is objective (while the traditional economic evaluation method is based on individual preferences, hence it is subjective). The Province of Venice is a very complex system due, on one hand, to the heavy and consolidated presence of industrial activity since the beginning of the 20th century and, on the other hand, to the principal natural ecosystem which characterizes it: the lagoon, the largest wetland in the Mediterranean Sea. The role of the lagoon, as a provider of resources and services is represented by the analysis of two aspects: the lagoon as an ecosystem on the basis of the evaluation of all flows that cyclically support its biotic activity and the lagoon as a productive system on the basis of the contribution of both natural and "economic" inputs that support human activity. In particular, the case of clam fishing will be presented to put on evidence the importance of natural inputs that are systematically neglected by the traditional accounting methodologies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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