A country’s Ecological Footprint is determined by its population, the amount consumed by its average resident, and the resource intensity used in providing the goods and services consumed.
It includes the area required to meet people’s consumption from cropland (food, animal feed, fibre, and oil); grassland and pasture (grazing of animals for meat, hides, wool, and milk); fishing grounds (fish and seafood); and forest (wood, wood fibre, pulp, and fuelwood).
It also estimates the area required to absorb the CO2 released when fossil fuels are burned, less the amount taken up by the oceans.
The footprint of nuclear power, about 4% of the global footprint, is included by estimating the footprint for the equivalent amount of energy from fossil fuels.
The area used for a country’s infrastructure, including hydropower, is included as the built-up land footprint component. A country’s biocapacity is a function of the number and type of biologically productive hectares within its borders, and their average yields.
More intensive management can boost yields, but if additional resources are used this also increases the footprint.
In the map above, each country’s size represents its share of the global Ecological Footprint. The colour of each country indicates the per capita footprint of its citizens.
Countries with ecological deficits use more biocapacity than they control within their own territories. Ecological creditor countries have footprints smaller than their own biocapacity.