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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Mathematics - Science Policy

Ecological Footprint Model Using the Support Vector Machine Technique
Published: Monday, January 23, 2012
Author: Haibo Ma et al.

by Haibo Ma, Wenjuan Chang, Guangbai Cui

The per capita ecological footprint (EF) is one of the most widely recognized measures of environmental sustainability. It aims to quantify the Earth's biological resources required to support human activity. In this paper, we summarize relevant previous literature, and present five factors that influence per capita EF. These factors are: National gross domestic product (GDP), urbanization (independent of economic development), distribution of income (measured by the Gini coefficient), export dependence (measured by the percentage of exports to total GDP), and service intensity (measured by the percentage of service to total GDP). A new ecological footprint model based on a support vector machine (SVM), which is a machine-learning method based on the structural risk minimization principle from statistical learning theory was conducted to calculate the per capita EF of 24 nations using data from 123 nations. The calculation accuracy was measured by average absolute error and average relative error. They were 0.004883 and 0.351078% respectively. Our results demonstrate that the EF model based on SVM has good calculation performance.
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