Encyclopedia of Ecology: Human Population Growth

Elsevier, Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, Volume 4: Encyclopedia of Ecology (Second Edition), 2019, Pages 344-351
Anne Goujon

The sheer number of population has been for long the main (and only) consideration about human population growth in ecological engineering and in other fields that are reflecting on the sustainability of life systems on earth. However with the availability of data on human behavior, we now know that what is important for the future is not only how many people there will be but what they will do in their everyday life which could impact the life systems surrounding them and how equipped they will be to face emerging challenges. Nevertheless, the challenges exist, and in the coming decades, the survival and well-being of humans and the security of environmental resources that support human existence will continue to be challenged by rapid population growth, particularly in less developed regions that are the main contributors to world population that is, sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. While the number of humans is likely to peak within the next 100 years, still a few additional billion people will live on earth. Ecological engineering will be key in understanding the complexities associated with human population growth and devise ways to influence and meet the challenges created by their behavior within life systems.