Approaches for calculating a nation's food ecological footprint - The case of Canada

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Abstract

In recent years increasing number of social and environmental signals have raised a discussion on issues of food security, exploring the extent to which the current prevailing food system is sustainable. It follows that the development of food sustainability indicators is essential. One such indicator is Ecological Footprint Analysis. This paper presents and analyses four approaches for ecological footprint calculation - a conventional global hectare approach, a domestic versus international approach, a place-oriented approach, and a place-oriented global hectares approach, and examine each for the case of Canada. The research documented food consumption, major sources of supply, and land and energy inputs required to supply Canadians with a wide variety of food products over a year. Overall the research reveals an agricultural and food footprint at a range of 63,312,000-64,600,000 gha or the average equivalent of 2.0 gha per capita, integrating agricultural land (1.46 gha per capita) and energy land (0.54 gha per capita). It then highlights unique merits and shortcomings of each approach; argue that integrating all can generate a better, more comprehensive, indicator of sustainability which can support sustainable resource supply management, and a guide for individuals food and dietary choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-374
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume24
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013

Keywords

  • Canada
  • Ecological Footprint Analysis
  • Food
  • Land
  • Sustainability

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