Rural Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity

The Rural Ontario Institute 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 was completed in March 2023. Stay tuned for the project report. 

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.  

Stay up to date on the Rural Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity project by following along on ROI Connect - a new online gathering place for rural folks to connect, collaborate, inspire and create change.