The ecological footprint (EF) is a measure of a population's wide-ranging demands on global natural resources. It has become one of the most widely used measures of humanity's environmental impacts, one that has been used to highlight the apparent unsustainability of current practices and the wide inequalities in resource consumption between and within nations.

The EF estimates the biologically productive land and sea area needed to provide the renewable resources that a population consumes and to absorb the wastes it generates—using prevailing technology and resource management practices of world average productivity. It measures the requirements for cropland, grazing land for animal products, forested areas to produce wood products, marine areas for fisheries, built-up land for housing and infrastructure, and forested land needed to absorb carbon dioxide ...

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