The aim of this research was to analyze environmental carrying capacity in three islands Jeju (Korea), Hawaii (USA), Tasmania (Australia) on a comparative basis. This paper reviewed first the concept and measurement method of environmental carrying ca ...
The aim of this research was to analyze environmental carrying capacity in three islands Jeju (Korea), Hawaii (USA), Tasmania (Australia) on a comparative basis. This paper reviewed first the concept and measurement method of environmental carrying capacity. Then, environmental impact (EI) and ecological footprint (EF) among the concepts of environmental carrying capacity were analyzed. EF was analyzed from consumption life among others, using the structured questionnaire developed by Earthday Network. 200 samples were selected in each island, employing a quota sampling method by age and gender.
The three islands experienced change in EI for ten years from 1996 to 2005, showing a trend of increase from 1996 to 2005. Hawaii was highest in the increase, showing 2.729 times, and followed by Jeju (2.129 times) and Tasmania (1.719 times).
EF as a whole reality was composed of five dimensions Residence, Food, Transportation, Product Purchase, and Discharge of Wastes, and each dimension was composed of question items. Residence was biggest dimension occupying EF in Jeju and Tasmania, while Food was the biggest in Hawaii.
Jeju exceeds EF size by 15.14 times, Hawaii by 2.55 times, and Tasmania by 8.088 times. Jeju islanders require 2.044 earths, while Hawaii and Tasmania islanders require 2.239 and 2.585 earths, respectively. This means that even though the EF size within internal carrying capacity is in order of Jeju, Hawaii, and Tasmania, their real EF size being occupied through consumption life is in order of Tasmania, Hawaii, and Jeju.
Males occupy bigger EF than females. The older the age is, the bigger the EF size is. The higher the household income is, the bigger the EF size is. The higher the educational attainment is, the bigger the EF size is. The Christians show a trend to occupy lower EF size than other religious beliefs and those who have no religion.
Gender was the most important determinant in Jeju and Hawaii, while household monthly income is the most important determinant in Tasmania. However, the order of important determinant except the most important one was different by island.
Such differences in EI and EF are caused by many factors including the four factors - number of population, GRDP, land size, citizens' consumption life which were used in this research. However, the differences can't be explained by the four factors, because there are so many factors determining the states of the four factors being patterned as a casual mechanism. In this sense, the question - why such differences exist in the three islands is basically another further research question to be explained.
Another limitation inherent in this research is that the data used represent the particular experience in the three islands. Therefore, if the experience is different, the findings will lead to different estimations of EI and EF. To determine EI and EF, assumptions would have to take into account a long list of parameters. However, the results found in this research are based on a limited number of parameters, and a complex measurement instrument has been partially developed. Further development of this model will prove useful for policy formation and management for sustainable development within environmental carrying capacity.