JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2016, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (1): 52-63.doi: 10.11849/zrzyxb.20141693

• Resource Ecology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Ecological Footprint of Rural Households and Its Determinants in Agro-pastoral Interlaced Region

HAO Hai-guang1, LI Xiu-bin2, ZHANG Hui-yuan1, ZHANG Ji-ping3   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China;
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. Beijing Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection, Beijing 100037, China
  • Received:2014-12-22 Online:2016-01-20 Published:2016-01-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No; 41471092 and 41161140352

Abstract: The impact of human production and consumption on ecosystem is always at the center of academic attention, and an understanding of their linkages is important for effective environmental policy and decision-making. Based on rural household survey data in Taipusiqi County, Duolun County, and Zhengxiangbaiqi County in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, we calculated ecological footprint of rural households to identify the impacts of production and consumption on ecosystems in agro-pastoral interlaced region, and further investigated its determinants including household characters, income, income structure, labors, and land endowment. Considering the nature of goods consumed and produced by farm households, we defined and calculated six kinds of ecological footprint (EF): total production footprint (PEF), arable land production footprint (APEF), grassland production footprint (GPEF), total consumption footprint (CEF), arable land consumption footprint (ACEF), and grassland consumption footprint (GCEF). The calculation and analysis results showed that: 1) the CEF was 0.559 ghm2 per capita, and the PEF was 2.045 ghm2 per capita in 2011. The PEF was three times more than the CEF. The farm households can be divided into three groups according to the size of their ecological footprint: high EF group, medium EF group and low EF group. Most of the rural households belong to the low EF group, and the size of GCEF and GPEF determines which group they belong. 2) The ecological footprint, especially the GCEF and GPEF had a significant positive correlation with income, which indicated that increasing of income more depend on livestock production and the household with more income consume more livestock products. Part-time farming or non-farming employment reduces the occupancy of local natural resources to some extent. 3) The ethnic minority households, the households with higher proportion of income obtained from livestock rearing, and the households with more grassland per capita had bigger ecological footprint and bigger GCEF and GPEF, while their ACEF and APEF were smaller. Considering the vulnerable ecosystem in agro-pastoral interlaced regions, ecosystem conservation policy makers should fully understand the differences of EF among farm households and the determinants, and take measures to reduce the ecological footprint and improve the welfare of farm households such as establishing and improving the ecological compensation mechanism, transforming livestock-rearing patterns from an extensive style to an effective style, encouraging non-farming employers to move out of rural area, and improving the diversification of livelihoods of farm households, so as to mitigate the environmental pressure caused by rural households.

CLC Number: 

  • X37