ecological footprint

Ecological footprint- Methodology, Impact and Examples Complete Guide

The ecological footprint is gaining significance in the era of advancements. The unsustainable developments and rapid technological developments in the infrastructure says its high time we give significance to the concept.

In the blog, we will find out all the basic details about the EF. The methodology, applications and implementation examples are also included.

Let’s begin with the definition of ecological footprint (EF).

What’s an ecological footprint?

  • Ecological footprint is a metric to quantify human demand for natural resources.
  • Or, the amount of nature it takes to sustain people or an economy, promoted by the Global Footprint Network. It controls this demand through a method of ecological accounting.
  • The measure of land and water to produce goods and dispose of waste humans generate
  • The 3 types of lands are cropland, grazing land and fisheries.
  • Helps in managing assets wisely
  • Helps in taking necessary action
  • Unit of EF is gha

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The methodology of EF is given in the next section.

Methodology of ecological footprint

  • Tracks biologically productive area and water to meet demands
  • Demands: space for food growing, timber regeneration, fibre production, absorption of CO2 emission
  • consumption=Imports-exports from national production
  • Biocapacity-biologically productive are available to produce resources and absorb waste
  • Ecological reserve-footprint> biocapacity
  • Ecological deficit-footprint<biocapacity
  • 85% of population ecological deficit

The figure below shows the EF of production and ecological footprint of trade- the two factors that contributes to the ecological footprint of consumption.

Ecological footprint of consumption
Ecological footprint of consumption

It’s time to have a look at the various factors that impact EF.

Impacts on EF

The section deals with the parameters that influence the ecological footprint.

A. Natural resources

  • Negative
  • Therefore excessive use controlled
  • Mining industry- advanced energy efficient technology
  • Reforestation,control fishing

B. Human capital

  • Negative
  • Locational advantage huge FDI
  • Education rate high hence human capital high
  • Tutorials ,public messages

C. Energy consumption and economic growth

  • Positively related
  • Stimulates use of fossil fuels
  • New technologies revolutionalize the energy sector to reduce emission
  • Govt should subsidize investments
  • Hydrogen fuel cell resolves storage issue
  • Policies-reforestation soil management, solar panels, organic farming

In the next section, we will find out the applications of ecological footprint.

Applications of ecological footprint

The main applications are as follows.

  • National review
  • Risk identification
  • Policy development
  • Footprint adoption
  • Monitoring
  • Communications

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Now that you know the basics of EF, let’s read through the implementation examples.

Examples of implementation

Places of less EF
Places having less EF

There are 4 implementation examples given below.

  1. United Arab Emirates
  • Largest per capita EF in 2006
  • Today exemplery model
  • Innovative awareness campaigns launched
  • Support from government
  • Energy efficient lighting regulation on oct 2013
  • Household sector main contributor(55%)

2. Philippines

  • Ecological deficit
  • Per capita biocapacity reduced 44%due to rapid population growth
  • In 2011 govt and global footprint network took an initiative to analyse country’s resources
  • Currently in the process of finalising national land use act –EF national indicator,protect area,careful use of resources

3. San Francisco

  • Overall EF 6% higher than avg Americans
  • Density and public transportation reduce EF
  • Increased consumption of city residents increase EF
  • Food and beverage consumption highest contributor

4. Calgary

  • The first city to develop EF reduction targets
  • If everyone same EF as Calgary resident,5 earths are required
  • Public rail transportation system powered 100% emission-free wind-generated energy
  • Greenhouse_gas emission 45% below 2005 levels
  • Already met 2020 reduction targets

Now, let’s wrap up.


  • Ecological footprint helps in measuring and assessing the impact of human activities.
  • Therefore take necessary actions which include rainwater harvesting, soil management practices, use of public transportation system, use of renewable resources, organic farming etc.
  • Strive towards a world where waste becomes energy, wastewater turned into bioplastics and heat and where electricity becomes green.

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So have you got all the important information regarding ecological footprint? Give a shoutout in the comments!

Happy learning

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