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Biocapacity is the capacity of an area to provide resources and absorb wastes. When the area's ecological footprint exceeds its biocapacity, an ecological deficit occurs.

Biological capacity available per person (or per capita): There were 12 billion hectares of biologically productive land and water on this planet in 2008. Dividing by the number of people alive in that year, 6.7 billion, gives 1.8 global hectares per person . This assumes that no land is set aside for other species that consume the same biological material as humans.[1]

Biocapacity is the capacity of ecosystems to produce useful biological materials and to absorb waste materials generated by humans, using current management schemes and extraction technologies. “Useful biological materials” are defined as those demanded by the human economy. Hence what is considered “useful” can change from year to year (e.g. use of corn (maize) stover for cellulosic ethanol production would result in corn stover becoming a useful material, and thus increase the biocapacity of maize cropland). The biocapacity of an area is calculated by multiplying the actual physical area by the yield factor and the appropriate equivalence factor. Biocapacity is usually expressed in global hectares.

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