Review

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

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Science  21 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6335, pp. 260-264
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal2011

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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.

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