Ecological Footprint & Coping Strategies

What is Ecological Footprint

  • The Ecological Footprint is defined as “the area of productive land and water ecosystems required to produce the resources that the population consumes and assimilate the wastes that the population produces, wherever on Earth the land and water is located.”
  • The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems. 
  • It is a standardized measure of demand for natural capital that may be contrasted with the planet’s ecological capacity to regenerate.


  • The total “footprint” for a designated population’s activities is measured in terms of ‘global hectares.’ 
  • A global hectare (acre) is one hectare (2.47 acres) of biologically productive space with an annual productivity equal to the world average.
  • Currently, the biosphere has approximately 11.2 billion hectares of biologically productive space corresponding to roughly one quarter of the planet’s surface.
  • Ecological footprint analysis is now widely used around the Earth as an indicator of environmental sustainability.
  • It can be used to measure and manage the use of resources throughout the economy.

Coping Strategies

  • Renewable energy policies
  • Highly fuel-efficient modes of transportation
  • Protecting existing ecologically productive lands
  • Restoring degraded natural areas
  • Promoting organic and local food sources
  • Setting standards for recycled product procurement policies and fair trade