Ecological footprint of European countries

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-161-en
Also known as: SEBI 023
Created 02 Mar 2020 Last modified 31 Mar 2020
9 min read

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The total ecological footprint of the EU-27 plus the United Kingdom countries increased rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s, and has remained relatively constant since the 1980s. Total biocapacity — the capacity of ecosystems to produce useful biological materials and absorb waste materials generated by humans using current management schemes and extraction technologies — has changed very little since 1961. The picture is similar for the EEA-39 countries and the wider pan-European region. The constantly high ecological footprint, coupled with decreasing biocapacity has resulted in an even larger deficit, which may have negative consequences for the environment both within and outside Europe.

Key messages

The total ecological footprint of the EU-27 plus the United Kingdom countries increased rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s, and has remained relatively constant since the 1980s.

Total biocapacity — the capacity of ecosystems to produce useful biological materials and absorb waste materials generated by humans using current management schemes and extraction technologies — has changed very little since 1961. The picture is similar for the EEA-39 countries and the wider pan-European region.

The constantly high ecological footprint, coupled with decreasing biocapacity has resulted in an even larger deficit, which may have negative consequences for the environment both within and outside Europe.

Are Europeans using more than their share of the world's resources?

Ecological footprint, biocapacity and biocapacity deficit per person in Europe, 1961-2016

EU-28
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EEA-39
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Pan-Europe
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Table
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Ecological footprint by land type in Europe, 1961-2016

EU-28
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EEA-39
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Pan-Europe
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Table
Data sources: Explore chart interactively

Biocapacity by land type in Europe, 1961-2016

EU-28