Energy Use Pattern and Carbon Footprint of Rain-Fed Watermelon Production in Iran
Analysis of energy use pattern and carbon footprint is useful to achieve the sustainable development in agriculture. Energy use indices and carbon footprint for rain-fed watermelon production were studied in the Kiashahr region of northern Iran. Data were collected from 58 farmers using a self-structured questionnaire during the growing season of 2013. The results showed that the chemical fertilizers consumed the highest percentage of total energy input (75.17%) followed by the diesel fuel (12.91%). Total energy input was 16594.64 MJ ha-1 and total output energy was 36275.24 MJ ha-1. The results showed that the energy use ratio was 2.19, energy productivity was 0.87 kg MJ-1, energy intensity was 1.15 MJ kg-1, and net energy gain was 19680.60 MJ ha-1. The amounts of direct and indirect energy for watermelon production were calculated as 2374.41 MJ ha-1 (14.31%) and 14220.23 MJ ha-1 (85.69%), respectively. The share of renewable energy was 1.40%. This highlights the need to reduce the share of non-renewable energy and then to improve the sustainability of rain-fed watermelon production in northern Iran. The study of carbon footprint showed that the chemical fertilizer caused the highest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions followed by machinery with 52% and 24% of the total GHG emissions, respectively. Decreasing the use of nitrogen fertilizer by improving its use efficiency and use of organic fertilizers can improve the energy efficiency and decrease the GHG emissions for rain-fed watermelon production in north of Iran.
Keywords� Watermelon; Energy use ratio; Energy indices; Greenhouse gas emissions.