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《Acta Ecologica Sinica》 2004-10
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Time series of ecological footprint in China between 1962~2001: Calculation and assessment of development sustainability

LIU Yu-Hui~(1,2*), PENG Xi-Zhe~1 (1.Institute of Population and Development, Fudan University Shanghai, 200433, China; 2. Geography Department , Shanghai Normal University, 200234, China).  
The ecological footprint (EF) model has been introduced to China and has attracted much attention from scholars in recent years. As a model, ecological footprint can measure the resource requirements in regional consumption activities. Biological capacity measure regional resource supplies. When ecological footprint surpasses the biological capacity, the region will be in a state of unsustainable development. This paper calculates the ecological footprint and biological capacity to explore the ecosystem fluctuations brought by the population and economic growth. The calculation results show that there was an obvious ecological footprint (per capita) increase and biological capacity (per capita) decrease in China between 1962~2001. An ecological deficit first appeared around 1980 and then continues to grow. In 2001, the ecological footprint, biological capacity, and ecological deficit (per capita) of China was 1.4891hm~2, 1.0532hm~2, 0.4359hm~2 respectively. The resources used surpassed the resource supply 41%, and the development at this rate was unsustainable. The increase of ecological footprint is mostly due to the great increase of fossil energy consumption brought on China's rapid industrialization and urbanization. While the cropland proportion of ecological footprint decreased from 57% in 1962 to 29.7% in 2001, the fossil energy proportion of the ecological footprint grew from 23% in 1962 to 47.6% in 2001. Such growth in ecological footprint and deficit means that there is a greater pressure on the ecosystem. To some extent, technology improvements and trade can play a role in alleviating this ecological pressure. In this research, the results also show increased efficiency in resource-use, which is demonstrated by the decrease of ecological footprint per 10~4 yuan GDP from 14.93hm~2 to 1.87hm~2. At the same time, the net import footprint proportion of ecological footprint grew from 6% in 1962 to 15% in 2001. This means that trade can have made a greater role in transferring ecological pressure out of China. Despite these improvements, the ecological deficit of China is growing and threatening the sustainable development of China and world. In China, the ecological footprint proportions of the world increased from 0.07% in 1962 to 0.14% in 2001. All these results demonstrate that China is now in a status of unsustainable development. Suitable technology improvement, the change of unreasonable production and consumption model, as well as correct trade choice are necessary for sustainable development.
【Fund】: 上海市教委课题资助项目 ( CW0 3 3 3 )~~
【CateGory Index】: Q147;X22
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