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The dynamic analysis on tourism ecological footprints in Liaoning Province.


Tourism industry is supposed to be a win-win industry to promote environmental protection and economy development; the tourism industry development in recent years, however, shows that the issue of ecological environment in tourism industry development has been increasingly highlighted. It needs to perform both qualitative and quantitative measures on ecological tourism in order to achieve the sustainable development of tourism industry. The ecological footprint theory, as one of the methods to study sustainable development and measure ecological construction, has gained rapid development ever since 1992 when it was firstly introduced and as well been widely applied in tourism sector. There are currently more studies on both the theory and practice of tourism ecological footprints; however there are relative fewer of those for Liaoning Province specifically.


Ecological Footprint (EF) and ecological carrying capacity, one method to calculate the difference between natural resource ecological consumption needs (ecological footprint) from human beings and ecological supply (ecological carrying capacity) from the nature, was initially introduced by Canadian ecological economists Professor William Rees (Rees, 1992) and was gradually perfected with his doctoral student Wackemagel in 1996 (Rees, 1996). EF calculation formula is:


Among which: EF stands for total ecological footprint; N for population; [e.sub.f] for ecological footprint per capita, [r.sub.j] for the balance factor of different biological productive lands; [aa.sub.i] for the component of ecological footprint per capita converted by type i consumption item; [c.sub.i] for consumption amount per capita of type i consumption item; and [p.sub.i] for the average productivity of type i consumption item. Biological productive land areas are classified into six major types of fossil fuel land, arable land, woodland, grassland, construction land, and waters.

Ecological carrying capacity calculation formula is:


Among which: EC stands for total ecological carrying capacity; [e.sub.c] for ecological carrying capacity per capita ([hm.sup.2]/person); [a.sub.j] for biological production area per capita; [r.sub.j] for balance fator; [y.sub.j] for yield factor; and j for biological production area type.

Tourism ecological footprint refers to the quantity ([hm.sup.2]) (YANG & LI, 2005) of productive land area needed by tourism industry out of the one needed by GDP in the whole area. Tourism ecological carrying capacity refers to the quantity ([hm.sup.2]) (ZHANG & ZHANG, 2004) of productive land area can be provided for tourism industry out of the one can be provided for GDP. Tourism consumptions include: transportation, accommodation, food, shopping, sightseeing, and entertainment, etc, constituting total tourism revenue. The proportion of total tourism revenue in regional national income can be described as tourism industry contribution rate (r) to GDP, tourism ecological footprint (or tourism ecological carrying capacity) can be represented by the product [5] of ecological footprint (or ecological carrying capacity) and contribution rate in the region (ZHAO & LIU, 2008).

The calculation formula of Tourism Ecological Footprint (TEF) is:

TEF=EFr (3)

tef=TEF/total tourist number(person) (4)

Among which: TEF stands for tourism ecological footprint ([hm.sup.2]); EF for ecological footprint of the region; r for tourism industry contribution rate to GDP; and Tef for tourism ecological footprint per capita ([hm.sup.2]/person).

The calculation formula of Tourism Ecological Capacity (TEC) is:

TEC=EC*r (5)

tec=TEC/ total tourist number(person) (6)

Among which: TEC stands for tourism ecological carrying capacity ([hm.sup.2]); EC for ecological carrying capacity ([hm.sup.2]/person) of the region; and tec for tourism ecological carrying capacity per capita ([hm.sup.2]/person). The difference between tourism ecological carrying capacity and tourism ecological footprint is tourism ecological deficit (or tourism ecological surplus) (WANG & LIN, 2005).

Tourism Ecological Pressure (TEP) refers to the ratio of tourism ecological footprint per capita against tourism ecological carrying capacity per capita in a country or region, indicating the pressure level undertaken by the region, its calculation formula is:

TEP=tef/tec (7)

Among which: TEP stands for Tourism Ecological Pressure; tef for tourism ecological footprint per capita ([hm.sup.2]/person); and tec for tourism ecological carrying capacity per capita ([hm.sup.2]/person).

Tourism Ecological Pressure shows the tourism ecological safety threshold in a region, it can measure ecological environment damage level caused by tourism industry development in the region and can be used as a important indicator of tourism ecological protection.


3.1 An Overview of the Region under Study

Liaoning Province is located in the south of Northeast China (38[degrees]43'N--43[degrees]26'N, 118[degrees]53'E - 125[degrees]46'E) with total land area of 145.900 [km.sup.24], accountable for 1.5% in China. It is also the most northern coastal province in China with fairly rich tourism resources of both natural scenery of beaches, mountains, lakes, springs, valleys, plains, sand, forests, and grasslands and humanistic landscape of numerous historical sites, ancient and modern architectures, and unique folk Custom. Rich but unique tourism resources establish sound material foundation for the tourism industry development and grow into the important safeguard to achieve leaping development for the tourism industry in Liaoning Province. Through 30 years of reform and opening up development, the scale of the tourism industry in Liaoning Province continuously increase and has turned into a new growing point of national economy and social development in Liaoning Province. Over-rapid tourism industry development introduces a series of ecological environmental issues that need to be repaired with ecological theory.

3.2 Data Source

The basic data mainly comes from Liaoning Ecological Footprint calculated by Dong Zeqin and Sun Tieheng (DONG & SUN, 2004) and Liaoning Ecological Footprint calculated by Lin Nan and Li Fayun (LIN & LI, 2009) in 2004 and other data from Liaoning Province Statistical Yearbook5 and Liaoning Province Economic Development Bulletin.

3.3 Calculation Results and Result Analysis

By applying previous methods, it can calculate Liaoning Province tourism ecological footprint from 2000 to 2005 with the results showed in Table 1 below.

The results in Table 1 show that all of tourism ecological footprint, tourism ecological carrying capacity, tourism ecological deficits, and tourism ecological pressure from 2000 to 2005 in Liaoning Province, in general, present a increasing trend; however, the increasing margin of tourism ecological carrying capacity is less than that of tourism ecological footprint and tourism ecological deficits grows up year by year as well, generating a big tourism ecological pressure.

The dynamic changes of tourism ecological footprint, tourism ecological carrying capacity, and tourism ecological deficits are showed as Figure 1. Tourism ecological footprint increased from 672.13x104[hm.sup.2] in 2000 to 1475.94x104[hm.sup.2] in 2005 with average annual increase of 133.97x104[hm.sup.2]. The major increasing reasons are associated with largely scaled tourism industry development, widely launched tourism evens, and greatly strengthened tourism publicity and promotion in Liaoning Province. Tourism ecological carrying capacity increased from 149.7 x [10.sup.4][hm.sup.2] in 2000 to 237.5x [10.sup.4][hm.sup.2] in 2005, a moderate increase. Tourism ecological deficits increased from 522.4x [10.sup.4][hm.sup.2] in 2000 to 1238.4x[10.sup.4][hm.sup.2] in 2005 with average annual increase of 118x[10.sup.4][hm.sup.2]. The figures suggest there already has been appearing severe environmental resource consumption in tourism industry; tourism industry development owes natural ecological environment more; and they as well demonstrate low tourism ecological resource use efficiency in Liaoning Province.


The dynamic changes of tourism ecological footprint per capita and tourism ecological carrying capacity per capita are showed in Figure 2. In Liaoning Province from 2000 to 2005, total tourist number increased from 43,24 millions to 99.902 millions, tourism ecological footprint per capita decreased from 0.1554[hm.sup.2]/person to 0.1477[hm.sup.2]/person with an average tourism ecological footprint per capita of 0.1595 [hm.sup.2]/person, significantly higher than that of 0.093 [hm.sup.2]/person in China in 1999. Tourism ecological carrying capacity per capita decreased from 0.0346[hm.sup.2]/person in 2000 to 0.0238[hm.sup.2]/person in 2005 with an average tourism ecological carrying capacity per capita of 0.0308 [hm.sup.2]/person, lower than that of 0.048 [hm.sup.2]/person in China in 1999. It can cearly be seen that tourism ecological supply and demand contradiction in Liaoning Province is increasingly prominent.


The dynamic changes of tourism ecological pressure are showed in Figure 3. The tourism ecological pressure indicators in Liaoning Province increased from 4.4913 in 2000 to 6.2059 in 2005 and also show an increasing trend, suggesting that the ecological environment demand strength from tourism economy activities in Liaoning Province is more than the supply capacity of tourism ecological carrying capacity, a wake-up call for the tourism development in Liaoning Province; and also reflecting the over largely seized tourism industry development in Liaoning Province and increasingly expanded contradiction among economy, society, and environment.



This article conducts quantitative analysis on the dynamic changes on tourism ecological footprint, tourism ecological deficit, and tourism ecological pressure in Liaoning Province from 2000 to 2005 by using concepts and calculation methods of "Tourism ecological footprint" and "Tourism ecological pressure". Research outcome shows: over-rapid tourism industry development in Liaoning Province introduces huge pressure on tourism ecological environment; annually increased tourism ecological deficit and tourism ecological pressure generate ecological hidden dangers for sustainable tourism industry development in Liaoning Province. To ease tourism ecological pressure it needs to improve tourism ecological footprint supply level and capacity in one hand; and take effective measures to protect tourism ecological environment and reasonably control tourism ecological footprint demand in the other. Meanwhile, ecological construction perfection is an important approach to reduce tourism ecological pressure and tourism ecological deficit and ensure sustainable tourism industry development in Liaoning Province.

The ecological footprint model is a convenient method to measure the ecological impact of tourism, comprehensive feature of tourism industry determines that it still needs more in-depth and detailed study on tourism ecological footprint.

* Received on May 13, 2010; accepted on July 3, 2010.


DONG Ze-qin and SUN Tie-heng. (2004). Ecological Footprint Study -Ecological Footprint Calculation and Analysis for Liaoning Province. Ecological Journal, 12(24):2735-2739.

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ZHAO Shan-shan and LIU Ling. (2008). Tourism Ecological Footprint Model-Based Sustainable Tourism Development Assessment for Shandong Province. Environmental Science and Management, 9(33): 142-145.

FAN Qiu-mei (2) SUN Tie-heng (3)

(1) Fund project: the project of National Natural Science Foundation of China (20337010) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCI.] (20337010

(2) Ph.D, Associate Professor, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016. Field of study: Regional tourism exploitment and planning; tourism ecology. Published more than 20 papers.

(3) Key Laboratory of Environment of ShenyUniversity, Shenyang 110041.

(4) Liaoning Provincial Tourism Administration, Basic Knowledge of Tour Guide. (2008) Shenyang Publishing Housing.

(5) Liaoning Provincial Bureau of Statistics, Liaoning Province Statistical Yearbook. (2006). Liaoning People's Publishing House.
Table 1: Liaoning Province Tourism Ecological Footprint from
2000 to 2005

                                 2000     2001     2002     2003

Tourism Ecological Footprint    672.1    792.8    1105.4   1069.7

Tourism Ecological carrying     149. 7   170. 1   219. 8   197. 8

Tourism Ecological deficits     522.4    622.7    885.6    871.9

Tourism Ecological Footprint    0.1554   0.1567   0.1728   0.1697
per capita ([hm.sup.2]/

Tourism Ecological carrying     0.0346   0.0336   0.0344   0.0314
capacity per capita

Tourism Ecological Pressure     4.4913   4.6637   5.0824   5.4045

                                 2004     2005

Tourism Ecological Footprint    1265.2   1475.9

Tourism Ecological carrying     217. 8   237. 5

Tourism Ecological deficits     1047.4   1238.4

Tourism Ecological Footprint    0.1557   0.1477
per capita ([hm.sup.2]/

Tourism Ecological carrying     0.0268   0.0238
capacity per capita

Tourism Ecological Pressure     5.8097   6.2059
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Author:Fan, Qiu-mei; Sun, Tie-heng
Publication:Advances in Natural Science
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jun 30, 2010
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