Human pressure on ecosystems is among the major drivers of biodiversity loss. As biodiversity plays a key role in supporting the human enterprise, its decline puts the well-being of human societies at risk. Halting biodiversity loss is therefore a key policy priority, as reflected in the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets under strategic goal A. The Ecological Footprint has become a widely used metric for natural capital and ecosystem accounting, and is frequently cited in the sustainability debate, where it is often used for tracking human-induced pressures on ecosystems and biodiversity. Given its potential role as an indirect metric for biodiversity-related policies, this paper breaks down the Ecological Footprint into its components and analyzes resource and ecosystem service flows at an international level. We discuss its usefulness in tracking the underlying drivers of habitat impacts and biodiversity loss. We find that: China is a major net importer of all biomass biocapacity components; the largest net exporters of forest biocapacity are not low-income countries; a very high proportion of the Ecological Footprint of fishing grounds is traded internationally; Singapore and at least three Middle East countries are almost wholly reliant on net imports for the cropland biocapacity they consume.
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