Handbook of Research methods and Applications in Environmental Studies
Show Less

Handbook of Research methods and Applications in Environmental Studies

Edited by Matthias Ruth

This volume presents methods to advance the understanding of interdependencies between the well-being of human societies and the performance of their biophysical environment. It showcases applications to material and energy use; urbanization and technological transition; economic growth and social vulnerabilities; development and governance of social and industrial networks; the role of history, culture, and science itself in carrying out analysis and guiding policy; as well as the role of theory, data, and models in guiding decisions.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 12: Network analysis of industrial ecosystems

Junming Zhu and Lei Shi


Environmental problems are usually better understood and addressed by tracing them back to the social and economic activities that initiate or strengthen the problems. To have an integrative understanding of the environmental impact of social and economic activities, researchers sometimes refer to the concept of industrial ecosystem. Industrial ecosystems are proposed as an analogous framework to help identify principles in biological and ecological systems that facilitate the understanding and development of industrial systems (Graedel 1996; Korhonen 2001); they are an innovative model of industrial activities for optimized consumption of energy and materials based on recycling, reuse, and other life-cycle, closed-loop integration (Frosch and Gallopoulos 1989); they are perceived as broadly consisting of producers, consumers, regulatory agencies, and their social environmental context, in which materials, energy, and information are exchanged in various spatial and temporal settings (Ruth and Davidsdottir 2008, 2009). The basic research focus in industrial ecosystems is on the materials and energy flows through different components of studied systems, because the flows originate from and ultimately return to the biophysical environment and may cause environmental problems. By changing the quality, quantity, and pathways of these materials and energy flows, improvement in technologies and organizations of production can increase resource efficiency, reduce environmental impacts, and support long-term sustainability of an industrial ecosystem. Changes in technologies and organizations of production are in turn determined by the perceptions and decisions of different players in an industrial ecosystem.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.