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MuSIASEM or Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism,[1][2][3][4] is a method of accounting used to analyse socio-ecosystems and to simulate possible patterns of development. It is based on maintaining coherence across scales and different dimensions (e.g. economic, demographic, energetic) of quantitative assessments generated using different metrics.


MuSIASEM is designed to detect and analyze patterns in the societal use of resources making a distinction between:

  1. the internal end uses (who is using which resources, how much, how, and why);
  2. the resulting internal environmental pressures associated with the various end uses, allowing an analysis of the impacts they create on the environment; and
  3. the level of externalization through trade of both requirements of additional end uses and resulting environmental pressures that are moved to the social-ecological systems producing the imports.

The ability to integrate quantitative assessments across dimensions and scales makes MuSIASEM particularly suited for different types of sustainability analysis: the nexus between food, energy, water and land uses; urban metabolism; waste metabolism; tourism metabolism; and rural development.

The approach was created around 1997 by Mario Giampietro and Kozo Mayumi,[5] and has been developed since then by the members of the IASTE (Integrated Assessment: Sociology, Technology and the Environment) group at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona[1][2][3] and its external collaborators.[4]

The purpose of MuSIASEM is to characterize metabolic patterns of socio-ecological systems (how and why humans use resources and how this use depends on and affects the stability of the ecosystems embedding the society). This integrated approach allows for a quantitative implementation of the DPSIR framework (Drivers, Pressures, States, Impacts and Responses) and application as a decision support tool. Different alternatives of the option space can be checked in terms of feasibility (compatibility with processes outside human control), viability (compatibility with processes under human control) and desirability (compatibility with normative values and institutions).

The original version of the accounting scheme has been improved using theoretical concepts from complex systems theory leading to the generation of MuSIASEM version 2.0, tested in several case studies.


MuSIASEM accounting has been used for the integrated assessment of agricultural systems,[6][7][8][9][10][11] biofuels ,[12][13] nuclear power ,[14][15] energetics,[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23] sustainability of water use,[24][25] mining,[26] urban waste management systems,[27][28][29] and urban metabolism in developing countries.[30][31] Moreover, the methodology has been applied to assess societal metabolism at the municipal,[32][33] regional (rural Laos,[34] Catalonia,[35] China,[36][37] Europe,[38] Galapagos Islands[39]), national,[40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47] and supernational[16] scale. An application of MuSIASEM to the nexus between natural resources is in the book Resource Accounting for Sustainability: The Nexus between Energy, Food, Water and Land Use.[48] This work has been tested in collaboration with FAO.[49] The Ecuadorian National Secretariat for Development and Planning (SENPLADES) has included the MuSIASEM approach in the training of its personnel.[50] Finally, several master courses about the application to the approach to energy system in various Southern African Universities have been elaborated under the Participia project. MuSIASEM has been applied to the analysis of Shanghai's urban metabolism.[51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Giampietro M, Mayumi K (2000). Multiple-Scale Integrated Assessment of Societal Metabolism: Introducing the Approach. Population and the Environment 22.2:109-153.
  2. ^ a b Giampietro M, Mayumi K (2000). Multiple-Scale Integrated Assessments of Societal Metabolism: Integrating Biophysical and Economic Representations Across Scales. Population and the Environment 22.2:155-210.
  3. ^ a b Giampietro, M., Mayumi, K. and Bukkens, S.G.F. 2001. Multiple-scale integrated assessment of societal metabolism: an analytical tool to study development and sustainability. Environment, Development and Sustainability 3 (4): 275-307.
  4. ^ a b Cadillo Benalcazar, Juan; Aguirre Fernández de Lara, Roberto; Fraga Ramos, Evelyn; Rosero, Gabriel; Llive, Freddy; Meneses Játiva, Pablo; Arroba Benítez, Francisco; Liger-Cisneros, Belen; Jaramillo Proaño, Santiago (2015-01-01). "Potencial de la gramática del MuSIASEM en la representación del análisis de la sostenibilidad". Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales, Centro de Prospectiva Estratégica. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Giampietro, M. and Mayumi, K. 1997. A relational model of socioeconomic systems based on hierarchy theory and its application to sustainability. Structural Change and Economic Dynamics 8, 453-469.
  6. ^ Giampietro, M., 2003. Multi-scale integrated analysis of agroecosystems (2004). CRC Press.
  7. ^ Gomiero T. and Giampietro M. 2001 Multiple-Scale Integrated Analysis of Farming Systems: The Thuong Lo Commune (Vietnamese Uplands) Case Study Population and Environment 22 (3): 315-352.
  8. ^ Scheidel A., Farrell K.N., Ramos-Martin J., Giampietro M., Mayumi K. 2014 Environment Development Sustainability 16:823–840.
  9. ^ Scheidel A., Farrell K.N., 2015 Small-scale cooperative banking and the production of capital: Reflecting on the role of institutional agreements in supporting rural livelihood in Kampot, Cambodia Ecological Economics 119: 230-240.
  10. ^ Arizpe, Nancy; Ramos Martín, Jesus; Giampietro, Mario (2012). "An analysis of the metabolic patterns of two rural communities affected by soy expansion in the North of Argentina". UHE Working Paper 2012_06. [Retrieved from: on 2016.03.28]
  11. ^ Gamboa, Gonzalo (2011-01-01). "Assessing the sustainability of the metabolic patterns of Mayan-Q'eqchi' peasant households: the Polochic Valley, Guatemala". Latin American and Caribbean Environmental Economics Program. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Giampietro, M. and Mayumi, K. 2009 The Biofuel Delusion: The fallacy of large scale agro-biofuels production. Earthscan Research Edition, London.
  13. ^ Borzoni, Matteo (2011-09-15). "Multi-scale integrated assessment of soybean biodiesel in Brazil". Ecological Economics. Special Section - Earth System Governance: Accountability and Legitimacy. 70 (11): 2028–2038. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.06.002.
  14. ^ Diaz-Maurin, François; Giampietro, Mario (2013). "A "Grammar" for assessing the performance of power-supply systems: Comparing nuclear energy to fossil energy". Energy. 49 (1): 162–177. doi:10.1016/
  15. ^ Diaz-Maurin, François; Kovacic, Zora (2015). "The unresolved controversy over nuclear power: A new approach from complexity theory". Global Environmental Change. 31 (C): 207–216. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.01.014.
  16. ^ a b Giampietro, M., Mayumi, K. and Sorman, A.H. 2012. The Metabolic Pattern of Societies: Where economists fall short. Routledge.
  17. ^ Giampietro, M., Mayumi, K. and Sorman A.H. 2013a Energy Analysis for a Sustainable Future: Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism. Routledge.
  18. ^ Giampietro M, Mayumi K, Ramos-Martín J (2009). Multi-scale integrated analysis of societal and ecosystem metabolism (MuSIASEM): Theoretical concepts and basic rationale. Energy 34.3:313-322.
  19. ^ Mayumi, Kozo; Giampietro, Mario (2014-12-01). "Proposing a general energy accounting scheme with indicators for responsible development: Beyond monism". Ecological Indicators. Integrated Ecological Indicators for Sustainable Urban Ecosystem Evaluation and Management. 47: 50–66. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2014.06.033.
  20. ^ Sorman, Alevgul H.; Giampietro, Mario (2013-01-01). "The energetic metabolism of societies and the degrowth paradigm: analyzing biophysical constraints and realities". Journal of Cleaner Production. Degrowth: From Theory to Practice. 38: 80–93. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.11.059.
  21. ^ Giampietro, Mario; Sorman, Alevgul H. (2012-01-01). "Are energy statistics useful for making energy scenarios?". Energy. 7th Biennial International Workshop "Advances in Energy Studies". 37 (1): 5–17. doi:10.1016/
  22. ^ Giampietro, Mario; Mayumi, Kozo; Munda, Giuseppe (2006-01-01). "Integrated assessment and energy analysis: Quality assurance in multi-criteria analysis of sustainability". Energy. The Second Biennial International Workshop "Advances in Energy Studies". 31 (1): 59–86. doi:10.1016/
  23. ^ Aragão, Amanda; Giampietro, Mario (2016-07-06). "An integrated multi-scale approach to assess the performance of energy systems illustrated with data from the Brazilian oil and natural gas sector". Energy. 115: 1412–1423. doi:10.1016/
  24. ^ Madrid-Lopez C., Cabello V. and Giampietro M. 2013. Water-use sustainability in socio-ecological systems: A multi-scale integrated approach. BioScience 63 (1): 14-24.
  25. ^ Madrid-Lopez C. And Giampietro M. 2015 TheWater Metabolism of Socio-Ecological Systems Reflections and a Conceptual Framework Journal of Industrial Ecology 19(5): 853-865.
  26. ^ Silva-Macher, J. C. (2015), A Metabolic Profile of Peru: An Application of Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM) to the Mining Sector's Exosomatic Energy Flows. Journal of Industrial Ecology. doi: 10.1111/jiec.12337.
  27. ^ D'Alisa G., Di Nola M.F., Giampietro M. 2012. A multi-scale analysis of urban waste metabolism: density of waste disposed in Campania. Journal of Cleaner Production 35: 59-70.
  28. ^ Chifari, Rosaria; Lo Piano, Samuele; Bukkens, Sandra G. F.; Giampietro, Mario (November 2018). "A holistic framework for the integrated assessment of urban waste management systems". Ecological Indicators. 94: 24–36. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.03.006.
  29. ^ Xiao, Lishan; Lin, Tao; Chen, Shaohua; Zhang, Guoqin; Ye, Zhilong; Yu, Zhaowu (2015-12-21). "Characterizing Urban Household Waste Generation and Metabolism Considering Community Stratification in a Rapid Urbanizing Area of China". PLOS ONE. 10 (12): e0145405. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1045405X. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145405. PMC 4687053. PMID 26690056.
  30. ^ Miranda, Raul F. C.; Grottera, Carolina; Giampietro, Mario (2016). "Understanding slums: analysis of the metabolic pattern of the Vidigal favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil". Environment, Development and Sustainability. 18 (5): 1297–1322. doi:10.1007/s10668-016-9810-y. S2CID 156888423.
  31. ^ Kovacic, Zora; Smit, Suzanne; Kaviti Musango, Josephine; Colin Brent, Alan; Giampietro, Mario (August 2016). "Probing uncertainty levels of electrification in informal urban settlements: A case from South Africa". Habitat International. 56: 212–221. doi:10.1016/j.habitatint.2016.06.002.
  32. ^ Pérez-Sánchez, Laura; Giampietro, Mario; Velasco-Fernández, Raúl; Ripa, Maddalena (2019). "Characterizing the metabolic pattern of urban systems using MuSIASEM: The case of Barcelona". Energy Policy. 124: 13–22. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2018.09.028.
  33. ^ Dai G, Yan L J, Guo H W, Zhang G. 2015. Societal metabolism analysis of China's four municipalities based on MSIASM theory and carbon emissions from energy consumption. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 35(7):2184-2194.
  34. ^ Serrano-Tovar T. and Giampietro M. 2014. Multi-scale integrated analysis of rural Laos: Studying metabolic patterns of land uses across different levels and scales. Land Use Policy 36: 155-170.
  35. ^ Ramos-Martin J., Cañella-Bolta S., Giampietro M., Gamboa G. 2009 Catalonia's energy metabolism: using the MuSIASEM approach at different scales Energy Policy 37: 4658-4671.
  36. ^ Velasco-Fernández, Raúl; Pérez-Sánchez, Laura; Chen, Lei; Giampietro, Mario (November 2020). "A becoming China and the assisted maturity of the EU: Assessing the factors determining their energy metabolic patterns". Energy Strategy Reviews. 32: 100562. doi:10.1016/j.esr.2020.100562.
  37. ^ Yong Geng, Ye Liu, Dan Liu, Hengxin Zhao, Bing Xue (2011). Regional societal and ecosystem metabolism analysis in China: A multi-scale integrated analysis of societal metabolism (MSIASM) approach. Energy 36: 4799-4808.
  38. ^ Velasco-Fernández, Raúl; Giampietro, Mario; Bukkens, Sandra G.F. (2018-10-15). "Analyzing the energy performance of manufacturing across levels using the end-use matrix". Energy. 161: 559–572. doi:10.1016/
  39. ^ Martínez-Iglesias, Camilo; Sorman, Alevgül H.; Giampietro, Mario; Ramos-Martin, Jesus (2014-07-01). "Assessing biophysical limits to the economic development of remote islands: the case of Isabela in the Galapagos Archipelago". Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales, Centro de Prospectiva Estratégica. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  40. ^ Ramos-Martin J. 2001 Historical Analysis of Energy Intensity of Spain: from a "conventional view" to an "integrated assessment" Population and Environment 22 (3): 281- 313.
  41. ^ Falconi-Benitez F. 2001 Integrated Assessment of the recent economic history of Ecuador Population and Environment 22 (3): 257-280.
  42. ^ Velasco R., Ramos-Martin J. and Giampietro M. 2015 The energy metabolism of China and India between 1971 and 2010: Studying the bifurcation Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 41: 1052-1066.
  43. ^ Iorgulescu R. 2014 Poverty, Socioeconomic Metabolism, and the Multi-scale Integrated Analysis Approach Procedia Economics and Finance 8: 407-413.
  44. ^ Iorgulescu, R. I. and Polimeni, J. M., 2009. A multi-scale integrated analysis of the energy use in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary, Energy 34(3): 341-347.
  45. ^ Ramos-Martin, Jesus; Giampietro, Mario; Mayumi, Kozo (2007-06-15). "On China's exosomatic energy metabolism: An application of multi-scale integrated analysis of societal metabolism (MSIASM)". Ecological Economics. 63 (1): 174–191. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2006.10.020.
  46. ^ Recalde, Marina; Ramos-Martin, Jesús (2012-01-01). "Going beyond energy intensity to understand the energy metabolism of nations: The case of Argentina". Energy. 7th Biennial International Workshop "Advances in Energy Studies". 37 (1): 122–132. doi:10.1016/ hdl:2072/97396.
  47. ^ Xiaohui, Chen; Tiansong, Wang; Piano, Samuele Lo; Mayumi, Kozo (2015-12-24). "China's metabolic patterns and their potential problems". Ecological Modelling. Ecological management for human-dominated urban and regional ecosystems. 318: 75–85. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.03.009.
  48. ^ Giampietro, M., Aspinall, R.J., Ramos-Martin, J. and Bukkens, S.G.F. (Eds.) 2014. Resource Accounting for Sustainability Assessment: The Nexus between Energy, Food, Water and Land use. Routledge.
  49. ^ Giampietro, M., et al. 2013b. An innovative accounting framework for the Food-energy-water nexus. Application of the MuSIASEM approach to three case studies. Environment and natural resources management Working Paper No. 56. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome..
  50. ^ "Funcionarios de Senplades viajan a España". Secretaría Nacional de Planificación y Desarrollo. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  51. ^ Yangsiyu Lu, Yong Geng, Yiying Qian, Wenyi Han, Will McDowall, Raimund Bleischwitz, 2016, Changes of human time and land use pattern in one mega city's urban metabolism: A multi-scale integrated analysis of Shanghai, Journal of Cleaner Production, Available online 2 June 2016.

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