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Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 956; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11040956

Sustainability Assessment of Natural Capital Based on the 3D Ecological Footprint Model: A Case Study of the Shennongjia National Park Pilot

1
School of Public Administration, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
2
Key Labs of Law Evaluation of Ministry of Land and Resources of China, Wuhan 430074, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 November 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 27 January 2019 / Published: 13 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Abstract

The sustainability assessment of natural capital (SANC) is one of the key elements in the field of national park protection. Assessing the impact of socioeconomic development on the Shennongjia National Park Pilot (SNPP), a typical national park in China, would be extremely conducive to the sustainable management of its natural capital. To this end, a natural capital account system encompassing transportation, accommodation, food, and waste for both locals and tourists was developed. Throughout the period from 2007 to 2016, a SANC was conducted in SNPP based on the 3D ecological footprint (EF3D) model to measure stock consumption as well as flow occupancy. The main conclusions were as follows: First, the ecological footprint (EF) size of the SNPP increased yearly from 2007 to 2014, although it decreased in 2015, when the government started preparing for the SNPP. Second, rapid tourism-related developments brought about an increase in the EF of built-up land, and the increasing medicinal planting also enlarged the EF of arable land. Third, the cumulative EF of tourism was 2.82 times that of locals over the past decade. This gap has been expanding. Overall, the results show relatively steady sustainability in terms of natural capital in the SNPP. More precisely, the preceding stock consumption did not severely constrain the function of the current regeneration of flow capital, whereas tourism and planting have become potential threats to the sustainability of the natural capital. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3D ecological footprint; natural capital; national park; sustainability assessment; Shennongjia 3D ecological footprint; natural capital; national park; sustainability assessment; Shennongjia
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Wang, Y.; Huang, J.; Fang, S. Sustainability Assessment of Natural Capital Based on the 3D Ecological Footprint Model: A Case Study of the Shennongjia National Park Pilot. Sustainability 2019, 11, 956.

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