How Iran's socio-ecological management can not sustain? Case study of Aras river basin

Document Type : Research Paper


1 M. Sc. Graduate, Department of Civil-Environmental Engineering, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Civil-Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Water and Environment, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.


In Iran’s sustainability puzzle, the role of human time activities, specifically in agriculture, has long been overlooked. For this reason, we applied the MuSIASEM analytical tool on Aras river basin, as a case study, in order to analyze its socio-ecological development during 2006-2016. Our results show that the biophysical pressure both on water and energy pillars. Energy metabolic rate (EMR) and Water metabolic rate (WMR) both were shifted 34%, and 21% during the decade of analysis. The household and paid work sectors both have experienced an increase of 83% and 108% in their EMR and WMR, respectively. For assessing the underlying socio-economic factor, we continued the analysis into the lower level compartments of the societal hierarchy. In agriculture, industry and service sectors, while there was a reduction of 28%, 36% and 29% in human time investments, EMR and WMR were increased by 64%, 84 and 123 for energy, and 74% and 105% for water. We conclude the result with generating composite indicators in agriculture based on the concept of metabolic processor. This shows that a crop like irrigated legume consumed 7 times more water, 9 times more land, 6 times more energy compared to fruits in one ton of their output. Also, legumes brought 37% more net added value with 5 times human time investment compared to fruits.


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