Perspectives population and environment. The Malthusian could be described

Perspectives
on Population and Environment Relationship

There are countless connections that bind human and natural systems. At
present, a lot of studies are already conducted in pursuit of trying to
understand the complex interrelationships between population and environment
which give rise to the various perspectives.

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Linear
Perspective

Linear perspective emphasizes the one-sided, linear and direct
relationships between population and environment. The Malthusian could be
described as a linear view. Malthus analyses population growth as a threat to
the natural limit of arable land to provide food, shelter, and subsistence. He
argued that because agricultural production grows geometrically and arable land
is finite while population growth is exponential, food supplies would be
insufficient to feed the growing number of population and would be pushed back
below the carrying capacity of agricultural systems by positive and
preventative checks. This condition would consequence famine, poverty and
increased mortality if left unchecked either by preventive or positive
checks (Bremner et al., 2010). Furthermore,
the neo-Malthusian acknowledge that population growth if not restricted will
increase exponentially will eventually surpass resources of Earth which will eventually
lead to environmental disaster (Lakhan, 2015).
But, Malthus and his followers’ argument were highly criticized for not
considering future technological advancement as well as future adjustment of
culture, institutional agreements, and business or trade. Despite these
criticisms, there are still studies supporting the linear view of Malthus. A
study conducted in Kenya is supportive to his side as it reveals that increase
in population density leads to increase in the frequency of cultivation and shortening
of the fallow period to restore the soil fertility. This leads to declining
yields which eventually culminates in food scarcity as the soil is bound to
decline due to the reduced fallow period (Minale,
2013). Moreover, the problem of food shortage successively
encourages accelerated degradation of environmental resources in the study
site.

Boserup’s view is also in linear perspective. Opposing Malthus, Boserup
stated an alternate response of humans and their agricultural systems to
increasing population growth (Bremner et al.,
2010). She argued that by intensifying land use, increasing
agricultural yields, and developing new agricultural technologies, humans would
respond to the food demands of a growing population. She cited multi-cropping,
increased labor to land ratios, and the development and use of better tools,
irrigation systems, and soil amendments as an example of agricultural
intensification in order to produce enough food for the growing population thus
avoiding poverty and more environmental degradation. Similarly, it was further
suggested that population growth encourages adequate technological change to
increase food output faster than population (Minale,
2013).

Both the perspective of Malthus and Boserup involve linear relationships
between population and the environment. Basically, population growth is
directly related to or is the main cause of environmental degradation. In
addition, the study of Szabo et al. (2016) shows
that increased population pressure, together with the acceleration of
urbanization and more intensive agricultural use, have magni?ed risks and
exposure to relative sea level rise, ?ooding, and loss of ecosystem services on
delta regions. They also stated that environmental factors exert a direct
in?uence on population dynamics both over short and mid or long-term horizons
and that the complexity of the problem is compounded by the feedbacks between
population and environmental factors in different socio-economic scenarios.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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