Assessing the sustainability of urban development and calculating the biological capacity of Birjand city using the ecological footprint method

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Master, Environmental Sciences Department, Land Reclamation and Planning, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Birjand University, Birjand, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Environmental Sciences Department, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Birjand, Birjand, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Environmental Sciences Department, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Birjand, Birjand, Iran


In the past few decades, the excessive consumption of natural resources, the rapid growth of urbanization, and the expansion of industrial activities have led to the destruction of the environment and the instability of urban communities. The phenomenon of sustainable development for the protection of natural resources is considered a collective heritage of humanity. The ecological footprint index is a basis for the relationship between man and nature. If the natural capacity exceeds, society will move towards instability. Therefore, the ecological footprint is an appropriate assessment tool to preserve the environment in the way to reach sustainable development. In this research, using the ecological footprint index, the sustainability of Birjand city development in 1397 has been studied. The ecological footprint of the consumption sector was assessed in five sections including housing, transportation, services, food, and goods, and after calculating the footprint, the biological capacity for the city of Birjand was calculated. To find out the stability or instability in Birjand city, bio-capacity and ecological footprint were compared. The results of this study showed that the ecological footprint per capita of Birjand for all the sections is 0.56 hectares, which is less than the national footprint (2.7 hectares). In the meantime, The biological capacity per capita for the city of Birjand was 0.77 hectares indicating the city is in a stable state.


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