Socioecological Transitions and Global Change: Trajectories of Social Metabolism and Land Use

This significant new book analyses fundamental changes in society-nature interaction: the socioeconomic use of materials, energy and land. The volume presents a number of case studies addressing transitions from an agrarian to an industrial socioecological regime, analysed within the materials and energy flow accounting (MEFA) framework. It is argued that by concentrating on the biophysical dimensions of change in the course of industrialization, social development issues can be explicitly linked to changes in the natural environment. From the historical transition in Europe, to current transitions in developing countries, the book offers a broad and comprehensive analysis of transition processes across scales, from local to national. The comparison of historical and current assessments allows a theory of the underlying patterns of the agrarian-industrial transition to emerge. On this basis, future trends and possible pathways towards (or indeed further departures from) sustainability are discussed. Empirical in character and cautious in its assumptions, this insightful book provides rich and in-depth material for further studies in socioecological research. It will be essential reading for students and researchers of ecological economics, industrial ecology, human ecology, environmental sociology, environmental history, geography as well as land, energy and development studies.