National material flow analysis: Cuba
Material Flow Accounting (MFA) is a resource accounting tool based on the concept of social metabolism. This national MFA Cuba investigates the overall structure and dynamics of the Cuban physical economy and its material flows (domestic extraction, imports and exports) between 1970 and 2003 in four main material categories (biomass, non-metallic minerals, metal ores and fossil fuels). The derived material flow indicators domestic extraction (DE), domestic material consumption (DMC), material intensity (MI), physical trade balance (PTB) and their material composition are examined. Further, the interrelationship of material use with economic growth and human development in Cuba between 1970 and 2003 is evaluated.
Special attention is given to the structure of its energy system and the disaggregated material flows nickel and sugar cane. Three phases are observed in the development of the physical economy in socio-economic and environmental terms, reflected in most economic and MFA-derived indicators: a period of growth (1970-1989), collapse (1989) and recovery (1990-2003). The structure of the Cuban physical economy is little diversified, specialized in the extraction and export of few raw materials, mainly sugar cane and nickel. Domestic extraction comprises mainly biomass (70%) and minerals (20%). Biomass accounts for 25% of the physical imports and 60%-90% of the physical exports between 1970 and 2003. The domestic primary energy supply is based on fossil fuel imports, mainly crude oil and oil products, comprising 70% of all physical imports. From a global perspective the ecological footprint and per capita energy consumption is relatively low.