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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 3090
Michelle Preyde

Chapter 2 – Sixteen Impacts of Population Growth  The world’s population has doubled during the last half century, going from 2.5 billion in 1950, to 5.9 billion in 1998  This unprecedented surge in population, combined with rising individual consumption, is pushing our claims on the planet beyond its natural limits  UN projects that human population in 2050 will range from 7.7 billion and 11.2 billion people  16 dimensions or effects of population growth in order to gain a better perspective on how future population trends are likely to affect human prospects: Impacts on Food and Agriculture 1. Grain Production  From 1950-1984, growth in the world grain harvest easily exceeded that of population  Since the, growth in the grain harvest has fallen behind that of population, so per-person output has dropped by 7% according the U.S. Department of Agriculture  Slower growth in the world grain harvest since 1984 due to the lack of new land and to slower growth in irrigation and fertilizer use because of diminishing returns of these inputs  Frontiers of agricultural settlement have disappeared, future growth in grain production must come almost entirely form raising land productivity  Challenge for world’s farmers is to reverse decline at a time when crop-land area per person is shrinking, amount of irrigation water per person is dropping, and crop yield response to additional fertilizer use is falling 2. Cropland  Since mid-century, grain area – which serves as proxy for cropland in general – has increased by 19%, but global population has grown by 132%  Pop-growth can degrade farmland, reducing its productivity or even eliminating it from production o As grain are per person falls, more and more nations risk losing capacity to feed themselves  Having already seen per capita grain are shrink by 40-50% between 1960 and 1998, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Iran can expect a further 60-70% loss by 2050 o A conservative projection that assumes no further losses of agricultural land o Result will be 4 countries with their combined population of over 1 billion whose grain area per person is only 300-600 square meters – less than ¼ of what it was in 1950 3. Fresh Water  Spreading water scarcity may be the most underrated resource issue in the world today. Wherever population is growing, supply of fresh water per person is declining  Water stress can be seen as rivers are drained dry and water tables fall o The Nile, the Yellow and the Colorado river have little water left when they reach the sea  The International Water Management Institute projects that a billion people will be living in countries facing absolute water scarcity in 2025 o Will have to reduce water use in agriculture in order to satisfy residential and industrial water needs  China and India, 2 countries that together dominate world irrigated agriculture, substantial cut-backs in irrigation water supplies lie ahead 4. Oceanic Fish Catch th  As we near the end of the 20 century, overfishing become the rule, not the exception. Of 15 major oceanic fisheries, 11 are in decline. Catch of Atlantic cod – long a dietary mainstay for western Europeans – has fallen by 70% since peaking in 1968. Since 1970, bluefin tuna socks in the West Atlantic have dropped by 80%  Next 50 years is likely to be marked by disappearance of some species from markets, decline in quality of seafood caught, higher prices, and more conflicts among countries over access to fisheries o Each year, future oceanic catch per person will decline by the amount of population growth, dropping to 9.9kg per person in 2050, compared with 1988 peak of 17.2 kg per person 5. Meat Production  When incomes begin to rise in traditional low-income societies, one of the first things people do is diversify their diets, consuming more livestock products  World meat population since 1950 has increased almost twice as fast as population – originally concentrated in western industrial countries and Japan, but over last 20 years it has increased rapidly in East Asia, Middle East, and Latin America  According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, of the world grain harvest of 1.87 billion tons in 1998, estimated 37% will be used to feed livestock and poultry, producing milk and eggs as well as meat  Total meat consumption will rise from 211 million tons in 1997 to 513 million tons in 2050, increasing pressures on the supply of grain Environment and Resources 6. Natural Recreation Areas  Dramatic population growth in the worlds major cities – and the sprawl and pollution they bring – threaten natural recreation areas that is beyond city limits  In nations where rapid population growth has outstripped the carrying capacity of local resources, protected areas become especially vulnerable o These areas are synonymous with camping, hiking, and picnics in the country, in Asia, Africa, and Latin America most national parks, forests, and preserves are inhibited or used for natural resources by local populations  Migration-driven population growth also endangers natural recreation areas in many industrial nations o E.g. Everglades National Park faces collapse as millions of newcomers move into southern Florida  Longer waiting lists and higher user fees for fewer secluded spots are likely to be the tip of the iceberg, as population growth threatens to eliminate the diversity of habitats and cultures in addition to the peace and quiet that protected areas currently offer 7. Forests  Global losses of forest area have marched in step with population growth for much of human history, but as estimated 75% of the loss in global forests has occurred in the 20 century  Deforestation created by the demand for forest products tracks closely with rising per capita consumption in rec
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