Human Ecology

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 179–208 | Cite as

Nutrient flow in a major urban settlement: Hong Kong

  • Ken Newcombe


A nutrient balance is established for the contemporary urban ecosystem of Hong Kong. The flow of nutrients in the Hong Kong food system in particular is examined, including current and potential nutrient recycling patterns. Losses of nutrients in food for human consumption are found to be up to 20% for major nutrients. The flow of mineral phosphorus in the Hong Kong food system is examined in detail. About 3600 tonnes of phosphorus are lost from the Hong Kong food system each year. A comparison is made between the land-based forage area demand of the Hong Kong population and a similar-sized Western population, that of Sydney, Australia. It is estimated that the average Hong Kong person consumes a diet which requires only half the land area needed to produce the diet of the average Sydney person. However, Hong Kong relies on the ocean for 25% of its animal protein supply compared with 2.5% for Sydney. Patterns of food production and nutrient recycling are proposed, with the aim of optimizing resource utilization in close association with contemporary urban settlements.

Key words

urban ecosystems Hong Kong nutrient flow recycling diet 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken Newcombe
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Ecology Group, Centre for Resource and Environmental StudiesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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