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ISSN : 1225-4517(Print)
ISSN : 2287-3503(Online)
Journal of Environmental Science International Vol.26 No.9 pp.1087-1099

Emergy Evaluation of Korean Agriculture

Daeseok Kang


Emergy methodology was used to analyze the biophysical basis of Korean agriculture and assess its sustainablility. Total yearly emergy input into Korean agriculture was 7.72×1022 sej/yr in 2013. Purchased inputs were the dominant emergy source, accounting for 90.1% (6.95×1022 sej/yr) of the annual input. This clearly indicates that the Korean agriculture is a modern, industrialized system that depends mostly on market goods and services derived from nonrenewable resources. The monetary equivalent of the total emergy input was 18.9 trillion ₩/yr, 1.5 times greater than the total production cost from farm expense surveys. Emergy return on investment of Korean agriculture was low, with an emergy yield ratio of 1.11. Korean agriculture appears to exert pressure on the environment as revealed by the high environmental loading ratio of 9.30. With very low emergy input from renewable sources (9.7%) and high environmental pressure, Korean agriculture is not sustainable, with an emergy sustainability index of 0.12. This study suggests that higher use efficiency of and lower dependence on nonrenewable purchased inputs need to be prioritized in an effort to enhance the sustainability of Korean agriculture.