Resources Ecology

Discussion on Shortcomings and Improvement of Ecological Footprint Theory in Energy Consumption Assessment

  • College of Environment and Resources, Jilin University, Changchun 130012, China

Received date: 2009-11-16

  Revised date: 2010-03-25

  Online published: 2010-06-30


Ecological footprint, which quantifies the comprehensive impact of human consumption activities on eco-environment from a standpoint of biological productivity, is the most widely used and concerned method of sustainable development assessment in the world by now. Ecological footprint is excellent in conciseness, understandability, maneuverability and easily being combined with other indicators, but still couldn’t reflect the impact of human consumption activity on eco-environment factually and exactly because of its hyper-pessimistic evaluation results. Based on the review and summary of the main achievements and progress in this research field home and abroad, the shortcomings of ecological footprint theory in energy consumption assessment are analyzed and concluded systematically to solve this problem in the following aspects: Firstly, the parameters, including equivalence factor, yield factor and energy factor, all are in a dilemma; Secondly, the measure standards between ecological footprint and ecological carrying capacity are in contradiction; Thirdly, the assumption that biologically productive land use types are mutually exclusive goes against the objective fact; Fourthly, the studies on the issues are not comprehensive; Lastly, the evaluation results are partly incorrect with the defects of relativity, limitation and ecological deviation. Among these five shortcomings mentioned above, the former three items should be modified as soon as possible, while the latter two items need to be gradually overcome in the future. And there are some pertinent measures and improvement suggestions put forward and discussed to improve ecological footprint theory. Moreover, in order to perfect the systemic project of regional sustainable development assessment, more economic-social indicators should be introduced into the further research on ecological footprint through interdisciplinary collaboration.

Cite this article

FANG Kai,DONG De-ming,SHEN Wan-bin . Discussion on Shortcomings and Improvement of Ecological Footprint Theory in Energy Consumption Assessment[J]. JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES, 2010 , 25(6) : 1013 -1021 . DOI: 10.11849/zrzyxb.2010.06.013


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