A Cross-National Analysis of the Factors impacting the Coastal Ecological Footprint

Document Type : Original Article


1 Madras School of Economics, Gandhi Mandapam Road, Chennai 600025 India

2 Madras School of Economics Gandhi Mandapam Road Chennai 600025 India



Coastal ecological footprint forms one of the six components of the ecological footprint measure. It accounts for the marine area required to sustain current levels of seafood consumption within a nation. It is estimated by drawing on the calculation of net primary production or the amount of solar energy converted into organic matter through photosynthesis needed to support a fishery. Coastal ecosystems, found along continental margins are regions of extraordinary productivity and accessibility which also makes them vulnerable to degradation. Hence studying their footprint becomes important. This paper seeks to find the driving factors behind coastal ecological footprint using data from 117 countries for a period of two decades from 1992 to 2012. A set of economic, demographic, climatic and trade variables were found to have the biggest impact on coastal ecological footprint. Given that temperature has emerged as the most import driving factor coastal ecological footprint among the variables examined, policies to protect and restore coastal ecosystems go hand in hand with policies to combat global warming and ties into the larger narrative of climate change that has sparked debate and controversy in recent times. It is necessary to have international co-operation through organisations, conventions, agreements and everything in between because we know that the temperature fluctuations at unprecedented levels are a global phenomena. But countries inevitably give different levels of priority to the sustainable development of their coasts depending upon national interests.