Human Ecology

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 565–580 | Cite as

Spatial Imprint of Food Consumption: A Historical Analysis for Sweden, 1870–2000

Article

Abstract

Depending on quantity and composition of food as well as on production conditions and techniques, the space needed to sustain an individual’s nourishment varies. The amount of space needed also depends on the use of resources such as energy, water, and fertilizers, as well as potential land degradation and water pollution. Our study focuses on the changing spatial imprint of an average inhabitant of an expanding Swedish city, Linköping, from 1870 to 2000 taking into account both shifts in consumption as well as agricultural productivity and practices. Despite the distinctly larger amount of animal food products, such as meat and fish, consumed in 2000, we calculate the area needed to sustain an individual’s annual food consumption could be less than one fourth of that needed in 1870. However, if the import of various globally produced foods is included in our calculations, the land needed to sustain the consumption of an inhabitant of Linköping in 2000 doubles. We also argue that an examination of this regional imprint can be used to explore and evaluate possibilities for regional development.

Keywords

spatial imprint food consumption nineteenth/twentieth century Sweden ecological footprint 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Water and Environmental StudiesLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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