An individual’s ecological footprint evaluates all of the biological materials consumed and the subsequent waste generated. The materials and waste are linked to specific ecologically productive areas and then translated into an equivalent measurement.
An ecological footprint looks at the amount of material consumed divided by the yield of the particular land or water area where the material was harvested or absorbed. The figures that result from this calculation are then converted into a global measurement using equivalence and yield factors. The sum of this measurement identifies the ecological footprint, or more specifically, the amount of land and water needed to support the individual's consumption and waste generation.
The ecological footprint refers to the amount of land and water needed to produce the goods and services necessary to support a particular community or individual lifestyle. It is an accounting tool that assesses how much biologically productive land and water is consumed versus the amount of land and water that is available.
The ecological footprint is used as a communication and management tool by businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits and governing bodies. The calculation answers the question of how much of Earth's biological capacity is demanded by a population or an individual.