Concept of ecological footprint

Water footprint of nations[ edit ] Global view of national per capita water footprints The water footprint of a nation is the amount of water used to produce the goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of that nation. Analysis of the water footprint of nations illustrates the global dimension of water consumption and pollution, by showing that several countries rely heavily on foreign water resources and that consumption patterns in many countries significantly and in various ways impact how, and how much, water is being consumed and polluted elsewhere on Earth. International water dependencies are substantial and are likely to increase with continued global trade liberalisation. The four major direct factors determining the water footprint of a country are:

Concept of ecological footprint

Definition Ecological Footprints EFs are an assessment of humanities dependence on natural resources. For a certain population or activity, EFs measure the amount of productive land and water required for the production of goods and the assimilation of waste required to support that population or activity.

In the world average EF was 2.

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In other words, the lifestyle of the average global citizen is unsustainable. We are using natural resources faster than they can be regenerated. Main Features Ecological Footprints provide concise, credible, comprehensive, detailed and scalable data based on best available scientific data and technology.

The size of an EF can change over time, depending on population, consumption levels, technology and resource use. EFs are measured in global acres or global hectares. One global acre or hectare represents one acre or hectare of biologically productive land or water. Wackernagel et al defined biologically productive areas as a arable land; b pasture; c forest; d sea space used by marine life ; e built up land; and f fossil energy land land reserved for carbon dioxide absorption.

The current global biologically productive area is Humans use resources from around the world. Consequently, local, regional and global productive areas utilised by a certain population or activity, have to be incorporated into the EF.

The final EF can be compared to the existing biologically productive area to determine how sustainable the activity, lifestyle or population is.

Ecological Footprint -- Revisiting Carrying Capacity: Area-Based Indicators of Sustainability

Various uses, mostly mutually exclusive uses, compete for biologically productive land and water. This includes human; flora; fauna; and conservation uses. Flora, fauna and biological conservation are accounted for in EF calculations. However, the amount of productive land given to this group varies between calculations.

EF calculations use official statistics and peer reviewed literature to gather data. Five assumptions underpin any EF calculation Redefining Progress: Most of the wastes generated and resources consumed can be tracked. Most of these resource and waste flows can be converted into the biologically productive area that is required to maintain these flows.

These different areas can be expressed in the same unit acres or hectares once they are scaled proportionally to their biomass productivity. That is, each particular acre can be translated to an equivalent area of world-average land productivity.

The advantage of EF calculations is that it uses a single, easy to understand unit of measurement which is comparable between activities and populations.

EFs reinforce concepts such as "earthshare" and linkages can be made between local and global consumption. However, EFs can oversimplify issues, data can be hard to source and not all impacts eg toxic waste are calculated.

Concept of ecological footprint

Case Studies and Examples 1. This equated to 49 million global hectares, twice the size of the UK, and roughly the same size as Spain. They found that Belgium and Luxembourg had the biggest ecological deficit at 5.

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The USA, Japan and Netherlands also had high ecological deficits of greater than 4 hectares per capita. New Zealand, Australia, Peru and Brazil were found to be living within their biological capacity.The Theory [excerpt from] Virtual water content: The virtual-water content of a product (a commodity, good or service) is the volume of freshwater used to produce the product, measured at the place where the product was actually produced (production-site definition).

The ecological footprint measures human demand on nature, i.e., the quantity of nature it takes to support people or an economy. It tracks this demand through an ecological accounting system. The accounts contrast the biologically productive area people use for their consumption to the biologically productive area available within a region or the world (biocapacity, the productive area that.

of the older idea of ecological footprint, a concept invented in the early s by Canadian ecologist William Rees and Swiss-born regional planner Mathis Wackernagel at the University of British Columbia. Global Footprint Network is a research organization that is changing how the world manages its natural resources and responds to climate change.

Jump to the Content. The Ecological Footprint is the only scalable sustainability metric for individuals, governments, and businesses.

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The water footprint shows the extent of water use in relation to consumption by people. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of fresh water used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.

Water use is measured in water volume consumed (evaporated) and/or polluted per unit of time. Our Ecological Footprint presents an internationally-acclaimed tool for measuring and visualizing the resources required to sustain our households, communities, regions and nations, converting the seemingly complex concepts of carrying capacity, resource-use, waste-disposal and the like into a graphic form that everyone can grasp and use.

An excellent handbook for community activists, .

Ecological Footprints - Views of the World