Evaluating renewable natural resources flow and net primary productivity with a GIS-Emergy approach: A case study of Hokkaido, Japan

Chengdong Wang, Shenyan Zhang, Wanglin Yan, Renqing Wang, Jian Liu, Yutao Wang

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Renewable natural resources, such as solar radiation, rainfall, wind, and geothermal heat, together with ecosystem services, provide the elementary supports for the sustainable development of human society. To improve regional sustainability, we studied the spatial distributions and quantities of renewable natural resources and net primary productivity (NPP) in Hokkaido, which is the second largest island of Japan. With the help of Geographic Information System (GIS) software, distribution maps for each type of renewable natural resource were generated by kriging interpolation based on statistical records. A composite map of the flow of all types of renewable natural resources was also generated by map layer overlapping. Additionally, we utilized emergy analysis to convert each renewable flow with different attributes into a unified unit (i.e., solar equivalent joules [sej]). As a result, the spatial distributions of the flow of renewable natural resources of the Hokkaido region are presented in the form of thematic emergy maps. Thus, the areas with higher renewable emergy can be easily visualized and identified. The dominant renewable flow in certain areas can also be directly distinguished. The results can provide useful information for regional sustainable development, environmental conservation and ecological management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37552
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 18


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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