Biodiversity and Population Growth

By Cincotta, Richard P.; Engelman, Robert | Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2000 | Go to article overview

Biodiversity and Population Growth


Cincotta, Richard P., Engelman, Robert, Issues in Science and Technology


How important is population growth to current global biodiversity loss? Although there is no credible numerical answer to that question, the bulk of the evidence suggests that population growth is and has been an important underlying cause of biodiversity loss. Perhaps most worrisome is that some of the most rapid human population growth is occurring in the vicinity of some of the world's biologically richest yet most vulnerable habitats.

We recently examined rates of population growth (including migration) and density in 25 "biodiversity hotspots," areas identified by Conservation International as especially rich in endemic species but which have experienced dramatic reductions in the amount of original vegetation remaining within their

boundaries. Nearly one-fifth of humanity (more than 1.1 billion people) lives within the hotspot boundaries, despite the fact they enclose only one-eighth of the planet's habitable land area, according to 1995 population data. In all, 16 of the 25 hotspots are more densely populated than the world as a whole, and 19 have population growth rates faster than the world average. In addition, more than 75 million people, or 1.3 percent of the world's population, now live within the three major tropical wilderness areas (Upper Amazonia and Guyana Shield in South America, the Congo River Basin of central Africa, and New Guinea and adjacent Melanesia).

Richard Cincotta is senior research associate and Robert Engelman is vice president for research at Population Action International (www.populationaction.org) in Washington, D.C. They are the authors of Nature's Place: Human Population and the Future of Biological Diversity (PAI, 2000). Jennifer Wisnewski, also at PAI, did the mapping work for the report.

                          The 25 Global Hotspots
                                                  Human
                                  Hotspot Area Population,  Population
                                   (thousands     1995     Density, 1995
                                  of sq. km.)  (thousands) (per sq. km.)
 1 Tropical Andes                    1415        57,920         40
 2 Mesoamerica                       1099        61,060         56
 3 Caribbean                          264        38,780        136
 4 Atlantic Forest Region             824        65,050         79
 5 Choco-Darien-Western Ecuador       134         5,930         44
 6 Brazilian Cerrado                 2160        14,370          7
 7 Central Chile                      320         9,710         29
 8 California Floristic Province      236        25,360        108
 9 Madagascar and Indian Ocean        587        15,450         26
   Islands
10 Eastern Arc Mts. & Coastal         142         7,070         50
   Forests
11 Guinean Forests of West Africa     660        68,290        104
12 Cape Floristic Province             82         3,480         42
13 Succulent Karoo                    193           460          3
14 Mediterranean                     1556       174,460        111
15 Caucasus                           184        13,940         76
16 Sundaland                         1500       180,490        121
17 Wallacea                           341        18,260         54
18 Philippines                        293        61,790        198
19 Indo-Burma                        2313       224,920         98
20 Mountains of South-Central         469        12,830         25
   China
21 Western Ghats and Sri Lanka        136        46,810        341
22 Southwest Australia                107         1,440         13
23 New Caledonia                       16           140          8
24 New Zealand                        560         2,740         11
25 Polynesia / Micronesia              46         2,900         58
                                      Extent of
                                     Population       Original
                                    Growth Rate,     Vegetation
                                      1995-2000      (thousands
                                  (percent per year) of sq. … 

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Biodiversity and Population Growth
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.