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Assessing the circularity of nutrient flows related to the food system in the Okanagan bioregion, BC Canada

Harder, Robin and Giampietro, Mario and Mullinix, Kent and Smukler, Sean (2021). Assessing the circularity of nutrient flows related to the food system in the Okanagan bioregion, BC Canada. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 174 , 105842
[Research article]

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Abstract

The "circular bioeconomy" is extensively discussed in science and policy, and its implementation in practice is considered to be a panacea for fixing many current sustainability problems. The circular bioeconomy crucially depends on biological and technical processes capable of recycling nutrients in the right mix, at the right pace, and using only renewable energy. The current lack of circularity of nutrient flows is a critical factor that hampers sustainable food and bioeconomy systems. If we are serious about the sustainability of food and bioeconomy systems, we have to develop more robust tools to study (diagnose) and explore (simulate) the factors determining the circularity of nutrient flows. This paper applies a novel analytical framework to assess the circularity of nutrient flows in modern food systems. This framework can help understand the potentialities of proposed changes in relation to reducing nutrient losses and the dependence on nutrients mined from finite deposits. More specifically, in this paper, we illustrate a quantitative assessment of the flows of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium in a case study - the food system of the Okanagan bioregion in BC Canada. Our study suggests that the proposed approach is effective to inform nutrient management policies in bioregional food systems. In particular, an assessment of the openness of nutrient flows flags the importance of managing organic residuals for comprehensive nutrient recovery and reuse - an activity that is still often systematically neglected due to large feed and food imports and the availability of cheap synthetic fertilizers. This type of analysis is essential if we want to develop effective policies for more sustainable management of nutrients in food and bioeconomy systems.

Authors/Creators:Harder, Robin and Giampietro, Mario and Mullinix, Kent and Smukler, Sean
Title:Assessing the circularity of nutrient flows related to the food system in the Okanagan bioregion, BC Canada
Series Name/Journal:Resources, Conservation and Recycling
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:174
Article number:105842
Number of Pages:11
Publisher:ELSEVIER
ISSN:0921-3449
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Environmental Sciences (social aspects to be 507)
Keywords:Food systems, Agriculture, Nutrient flows, Circularity Feed and food trade, System openness
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-113859
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-113859
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105842
Web of Science (WoS)000700394400046
ID Code:25851
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Energy and Technology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:18 Oct 2021 04:26
Metadata Last Modified:18 Oct 2021 05:01

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