Study of Environmental Sustainability of Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) Cultivation with Ecological Footprint Approach (Case Study: Flue–Cured Tobacco and Air–Cured in Golestan Province)

Document Type : Research Article


1 Ph. D. Student of Agricultural Development, Faculty of Agricultural, Bu- Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran

2 Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Faculty of Agricultural, Bu- Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran

3 Department of Agriculture, Payame Noor University(PNU),


Today, agricultural systems are considered as the center and main axis of all activities related to the development of sustainable agriculture in Iran. Obviously, the more efforts to expand the sustainability of the exploitation systems of the regions, the better the situation will be in terms of reducing energy loss, production costs, increasing performance and conserving resources, and preventing waste. From an ecological point of view, the per capita consumption of energy and materials used in agriculture has increased faster than population growth, so that the continuation of this process endangers the health, sustainability and well-being of society and causes the destruction of ecological resources. For this reason, any exploitation of nature should be done after evaluating the resources and within the capabilities and capacities of the environment. Recognizing the problems and bottlenecks of the specialized tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) cultivation system in Golestan province as well as formulating appropriate solutions to solve the environmental problems of tobacco cultivation is of great importance in the sustainable development of this product. Ecological footprint is a valid indicator for assessing the sustainability of agricultural products. This index makes it possible to calculate the amount of pressure that humans exert on environment to produce crops. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to study the environmental impacts of tobacco cultivation due to the importance of environment and sustainable agricultural.
Materials and Methods
In this study, the environmental sustainability of two types of greenhouse tobacco (Virginia) and dry shade (Barley) was evaluated. The statistical population of this research is tobacco growers, Flue-Cured tobacco and Air-Cured tobacco in Golestan province. The statistical sample size was estimated to be about 160 people using Cochran's formula. The data collection tool was a questionnaire that was randomly distributed and completed among 100 Flue-Cured tobacco farmers and 60 Air-Cured tobacco farmers in 2019. To assess the environmental effects, the ecological footprint index was used. For this purpose, the ecological footprint was calculated based on the type of field operations in two parts: direct and indirect footprint.
Results and Discussion
The results of the study indicated that the total energy consumption for the production of Air-Cured tobacco was 97327 MJ/ha. Electricity with 44.72% had the largest share in energy consumption followed by nitrogen with 16.69% and diesel with 16.61%. The total energy consumed to produce one hectare of Flue-Cured tobacco was 73,184 MJ, electricity has largest share followed by diesel. Indirect ecological footprints were calculated for, Flue-Cured tobacco and Air-Cured tobacco 1.16 and 1.54 gha, respectively. In Air-Cured tobacco Electricity with 38.19% nitrogen fertilizer with 18.67% and diesel with 18.58% have the greatest impact on ecological footprint.  The results show the total ecological footprint (direct and indirect) Air-Cured tobacco (4.05) and Flue-Cured tobacco (3.67) equivalent to the global hectare (gha). The results of ecological footprint studies in both types of tobacco indicate that the highest environmental impact resulting from crop production is related to electricity input. In the Flue-Cured production process, the electricity consumption is related to the water pump (electric wells) and the greenhouse (fan for ventilation), but in the Air-Cured tobacco, it is only related to the water pump consumption.
Sustainability indicators are a tool that can be used to raise the awareness of tobacco growers about the environmental effects of their actions. According to the results of this study, the use of electricity, water, fertilizer and diesel inputs has the greatest impact on ecological instability, so proper management of the use of these inputs is a necessity, such as the use of appropriate technologies, fertilizer use according to plant needs. Reducing the intensity of tillage by using appropriate machinery and paying attention to climatic conditions as well as increasing the awareness of tobacco growers with the help of educational-promotional activities can be effective in reducing the consumption of inputs and optimal use.


Main Subjects

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Volume 15, Issue 3 - Serial Number 57
September 2023
Pages 607-624
  • Receive Date: 27 June 2021
  • Revise Date: 28 September 2021
  • Accept Date: 24 November 2021
  • First Publish Date: 24 November 2021