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The application of the Ecological Footprint in two Irish urban areas: Limerick and Belfast

Conor Walsh, Annabel McLoone, Bernadette O'Regan, Richard Moles, Robin Curry


The ecological footprint is now a widely accepted indicator of sustainable development. Footprinting translates resource consumption into the land area required to sustain it, and allows for an average per capita footprint for a region or nation to be compared with the global average. This paper reports on a project in which footprints were calculated for two Irish cities, namely Belfast in Northern Ireland and Limerick in the Republic of Ireland for the year 2001. As is frequently the case at sub-national scale, data quality and availability were often problematic, and in general data gaps were filled by means of population proxies or national averages. A range of methods was applied to convert resource flows to land areas. Both footprints suggest that the lifestyles of citizens of the cities use several times more land than their global share, as has been found for other cities.

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