Integrated Biosystems for Rural Sustainability
Michelle Adams and Abdel Ghaly*
Biological Engineering Program
Department of Process Engineering and Applied Sciences
Dalhousie University
P.O. Box 1000
1360 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3J 2X4
* Tel: 1-902-494-6014   Fax: 1-902-423-2423    abdel.ghaly@dal.ca
The environmental sensitivity of Atlantic Canada's rural areas has been identified as one of the primary limiting factors related to economic growth. Concerns have arisen with respect to the negative effects of untreated discharges from agricultural and food-processing operations. Many environmental management strategies have often neglected the necessity to demonstrate the long term economic and environmental sustainabilities as these have been developed for end of pipe treatment that often end up being costly and ineffective.

 Integrated biosystems (IBS) make practical connections between agriculture, food processing, aquaculture, waste and wastewater management, and fuel generation. They encourage the flow of material and energy by using by-products of one operation as inputs for another. In this way, food, fertilizer, animal feed and fuel can be produced with minimum input of nutrients, water and other resources. The development of an IBS can help achieve sustainability by treating the management of wastes and residues as the central design feature of the system. They also encourage holistic systems-level thinking in which the dynamics of interconnections and interdependence are as important as the components that are connected. IBS's can increase options for land use planning by placing the emphasis on the functional integration of complementary activities rather than just coexistence. Through the presentation of data from a case study of sustainability within the coffee industry of rural Costa Rica, the use of IBSs to address the social, environmental and economic sustainability of rural agricultural settings in Atlantic Canada will be highlighted.



All Submissions
7:00 AM-5:00 PM, Thursday, 20 October 2005, Oral

The Nova Scotia, Canada 2005 Meeting