Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lower Mainland's Ecological Carrying Capacity

"The Vancouver-Lower Fraser Valley Region of British Columbia, Canada, serves as an example. For simplicity's sake consider the region's ecological use of forested and arable land for domestic food, forest products, and fossil energy consumption alone: assuming an average Canadian diet and current management practices, 1.1 ha of land per capita is required for food production, 0.5 ha for forest products, and 3.5 ha would be required to produce the biomass energy (ethanol) equivalent of current per capita fossil energy consumption.

(Alternatively, a comparable area of temperate forest is required exclusively to assimilate current per capita C02 emissions (see 'Calculating the Ecological Footprint'). Thus, to support just their food and fossil fuel consumption, the region's 1.7 million people require, conservatively, 8.7 million ha of land in continuous production. The valley, however, is only about 400,000 ha. Our regional population therefore 'imports' the productive capacity of at least 22 times as much land to support its consumer lifestyles as it actually occupies (see Figure 20.3). At about 425 people/km2 the population density of the valley is comparable to that of the Netherlands (442 people/km2)" [p.p. 369-371]

Source: http://dieoff.org/page13.htm

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