Primary crops are linked to final consumption by networks of processes and actors that convert and distribute food and non-food goods. Achieving a sustainable metabolism of this bio-economy is an overarching challenge which manifests itself in a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Modelling the physical dimensions of biomass conversion and distribution networks is essential to understanding the characteristics, drivers and dynamics of our societies' biomass metabolism. In this paper, we present the Food and Agriculture Biomass Input-Output model (FABIO), a set of multi-regional supply, use and input-output tables in physical units, that document the complex flows of agricultural and food products in the global economy. The model assembles FAOSTAT statistics reporting crop production, trade, and utilisation in physical units, supplemented by data on technical and metabolic conversion efficiencies, into a consistent, balanced, input-output framework. FABIO covers 191 countries and 130 agriculture, food and forestry products from 1986 to 2013. The physical supply-use tables offered by FABIO provide a comprehensive, transparent and flexible structure for organising data representing flows of materials within metabolic networks.
They allow tracing biomass flows and embodied environmental pressures along global supply chains at an unprecedented level of product and country detail and can help to answer a range of questions regarding environment, agriculture, and trade.
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