Ecological Footprint, Concept of

  • Rees W
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Abstract

Ecological footprint analysis (EFA) quantifies the ecosystem area required to support specified human populations. EFA shows that rich countries use two- to five- times their per capita equitable 'Earth-shares'; that the ecofootprints of high-income countries generally exceed their domestic biocapacities; and that the human enterprise as a whole is in a state of overshoot. The human ecofootprint is a major driver of biodiversity loss - biocapacity dedicated to humans is irreversibly unavailable to other species. Global sustainability requires that the already rich decrease their ecofootprints to create the ecological space needed both for nonhuman species and for justifiable growth in impoverished countries.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biocapacity
  • Biodiversity loss
  • Carbon footprint
  • Carrying capacity
  • Competitive exclusion
  • Consumption
  • Earth-share
  • Ecological deficit
  • Ecological footprint
  • Globalization
  • Human load
  • Inequity
  • Overshoot
  • Pollution
  • Sustainability

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Authors

  • William E. Rees

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