The interaction of human population, food production, and biodiversity protection

| May 8, 2017 | Leave a Comment

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Date of Publication: April 21, 2017

Year of Publication: 2017

Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science

Author(s): Eileen Crist, Camilo Mora, Robert Engelman

Journal: Science

Volume: 356: 6335

Pages: 260-264

Though many scenarios for feeding a world of 10 billion people while maintaining biodiversity have been proposed, Crist, Mora, and Engelman find that they “remain largely idealistic”. Instead, the authors propose more attention be placed on the ’10 Billion’ part of the equation:

“…research increasingly demonstrates that continuing population growth plays a substantial role in the destruction of biodiversity, and that this role deserves more exploration in scientific circles. Policies for slowing and eventually reversing the size of the global population, within a framework of human rights, are a feasible pathway to reducing humanity’s impact, increasing human welfare, and protecting biodiversity.

ABSTRACT: Research suggests that the scale of human population and the current pace of its growth contribute substantially to the loss of biological diversity. Although technological change and unequal consumption inextricably mingle with demographic impacts on the environment, the needs of all human beings—especially for food—imply that projected population growth will undermine protection of the natural world. Numerous solutions have been proposed to boost food production while protecting biodiversity, but alone these proposals are unlikely to staunch biodiversity loss. An important approach to sustaining biodiversity and human well-being is through actions that can slow and eventually reverse population growth: investing in universal access to reproductive health services and contraceptive technologies, advancing women’s education, and achieving gender equality.

Find the full article via Science or the author’s website.

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