Socio-Economic Metabolism and Sustainability at a Watershed


This research relates to the change in land use and land cover and to socio-economic metabolism, which constitute two approaches to interdisciplinary research on the society-nature relationship. The study focuses on relationships between the spatial pattern of land use, as exhibited through changes in Human Appropriation of Net Primary Productivity percentage (HANPP%), and socio- economic indicators (such as social exclusion/inclusion, income autonomy, human development, social equity and quality of life) of census sectors of a watershed. The analysis seeks to identify the existence of ecological and economic conflicts as a means of diagnosing the sustainability condition of the mid-upper Mogi Guaçu River watershed in 2009. The spatial pattern of land use of the watershed in 2009 indicates that ecosystems and natural habitats had already been reduced to a fraction of their original sizes and that a significant portion of their primary productivity had been appropriated. The predominance of anthropogenic agricultural activities in the watershed was the main cause of the increase in the HANPP%. Lower HANPP% values are associated with census sectors in regions with legally protected conservation areas; higher values are associated with census sectors involved in anthropogenic agricultural and non-agricultural activities. A positive significant correlation was observed between HANPP% and social exclusion/inclusion, income autonomy and human development indicators, with values above the Basic Social Inclusion Standard, indicating lower trophic availability. With the exception of the quality of life indicator, lower (0.75 to 0.25) and higher (-0.75 to -0.25) social exclusion values were observed in rural and urban census sectors. The environmental sustainability of the middle Mogi Guaçu River watershed has been compromised in terms of the amount of biomass available to the trophic community. However, socio-economic indicators demonstrate an improved quality of life for the populations of the census sectors of the middle Mogi Guaçu River watershed.

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Fushita, A. and dos Santos, J. (2015) Socio-Economic Metabolism and Sustainability at a Watershed. Open Journal of Applied Sciences, 5, 678-687. doi: 10.4236/ojapps.2015.511067.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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