Measuring and locating footprints: A case study of Taiwan's rice and wheat consumption footprint
Ecological footprint (EF) has been used widely to examine the overall dependence of human society on bioproductive land. However, the recent literature regarding EF analysis has focused increasingly on presenting the different components inherent in an aggregated EF estimate, including consumption, land, and location categories. Analyzing the EF of a particular consumption category within its socioeconomic and environmental contexts reveals information relevant to sustainability issues. Examining results according to land category and location reference is also useful toward this end. Following the emerging disaggregating trend in EF analysis, this study measures Taiwan's rice and wheat consumption footprints in terms of cropland and energy land from 1989 to 2008. It also identifies the cropland location by source country. The results indicate that Taiwan has continuously enlarged and dispersed the cropland for its rice and wheat consumption footprints in foreign countries, but it has decreased its footprint in domestic territories. By examining these findings within their local context, this study identifies and discusses related sustainability challenges that the Taiwanese government faces, such as preventing excess cropland from being developed for non-agricultural purposes.
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