- A measure of how much biologically productive land and water area an individual, population or activity requires to produce all the resources it consumes and to absorb the waste it generates using prevailing technology and resource management practices.
Mathis Wackernagel (1994) Ecological Footprint and Appropriated Carrying Capacity: A Tool for Planning Toward Sustainability, Vancouver, Canada: School of Community and Regional Planning. The University of British Columbia, OCLC 41839429:
Adding up the land requirement of all these categories provides an aggregate or total area which we call the “Ecological Footprint” of a defined economy on Earth. This area represents the carrying capacity which is “appropriated” (or occupied) by that economy for providing the total flow of goods and services. Another name for the Ecological Footprint is, therefore, the “Appropriated Carrying Capacity” of the economy.