China's Footprint 1961-2002

This graph shows how China has moved from using, in net terms, about 0.8 times its domestic biocapacity in 1961 to twice its own biocapacity in 2002. The ecological deficit that exists when ecological demand exceeds supply can be financed by importing biocapacity, liquidating existing stocks of ecological capital, or allowing wastes to accumulate and ecosystems to degrade.

Figure 1 illustrates, for each year, how many Chinas were required to meet the resource requirements of China. Resource demand (Ecological Footprint) for the country as a whole is the product of population times per capita consumption. Resource supply (biocapacity) varies each year with ecosystem management, agricultural practices (such as fertilizer use and irrigation), ecosystem degradation, and weather. This figure shows the ratio between the country's demand and the country's biocapacity in each year, and how this ratio has changed over time. Expressed in terms of "number of Chinas," the biocapacity of China is always 1 (represented by the horizontal blue line).

Figure 2 tracks, in absolute terms, the average per person Ecological Footprint and per person biocapacity in China over a 40-year period. Per person biocapacity can decline with both increasing population and declining ecosystem health.


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Figure 3 shows the components of average per person Ecological Footprint in China.

Footprint trends in eight countries and the world show how Ecological Footprints have developed at the national level over the last 40 years. All figures are based on data from the 2005 Edition of the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts.










Korea, DPR (North)


Korea, Rep. (South)








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Last Updated: 11/22/2005

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