Rural Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Project

ROI is working with the Ecological Footprint Initiative at York University to implement a pilot project for community-level Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity accounts. The project will be applied to rural communities in four census divisions in Ontario. The purpose of this project is to enable rural citizens to examine their community’s Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity. The pilot is expected to be complete by March 2023. 

A view of a small town from on top of a hill looking down  in the Autumn season.

Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity is a sustainability metric that demonstrates the environmental impact from economic activities in a certain area. This metric can be scaled at different levels including individual, community, national, and global levels. Ecological Footprint measures the amount of ecological assets that are required to meet a population’s rate of consumption. Biocapacity measures the productivity of the ecological assets of the given area. In other words, Ecological Footprint measures the demand on natural resources while Biocapacity measures the supply of ecosystem services. If the Ecological Footprint of an area exceeds Biocapacity, then that area runs a Biocapacity deficit; and if Biocapacity exceeds Ecological Footprint, then that area runs a Biocapacity reserve. Together, Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity present a holistic snapshot of the impact of human activity on the environment.  

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York University

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Rural Ontario Institute

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