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Abstract

In the current century, agriculture sustainability and the reduction of environmental pressure are two main objectives of the management of agro-ecosystems that is challenged by energy inefficiency. In this respect, the present study assessed one of the most important planting systems in Sistan Region by emergy analysis approach. It analyzed all inputs of greenhouse cucumber production system in Sistan including renewable inputs (sunlight, wind, rain), non-renewable inputs (net topsoil loss), and purchased inputs (machinery, fossil fuels, electricity, plastic, utility, labor, N, K, P and micro fertilizers, and chemical herbicides) and services. In this study, an emergy analysis was performed on greenhouse cucumber production system of Sistan using the data collected from a 3000-m2 greenhouse in Zahak Agricultural Research Station (as an average representative of agricultural lands in Sistan Region). The results revealed that total emergy of greenhouse cucumber system was 1.094 × 1018seJ, and diesel fuel and labor were the main emergy consumers with the emergy consumption rates of 7.9 × 1017 and 1.92 × 1017seJ ha-1, respectively. Main emergy indices including emergy yield ratio, emergy investment ratio, environmental loading ratio, and sustainability index were found to be 1.00, 2089, 4.34 and 20.23, respectively. Therefore, it is imperative to consider the optimization of highly consumed inputs, the reduction of environmental impacts, and the increase in sustainability by making changes in greenhouse structures, enhancing energy use efficiency inside the greenhouse, and mechanizing the planting, cultivating and harvesting processes in order to develop greenhouse cucumber system in Sistan.

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