Why Population Matters to Biodiversity

Links between Population and Biodiversity

Population is recognized as an indirect driver of biodiversity loss, as human demands for resources like food and fuel play a key role in driving biodiversity degradation. This happens primarily through the conversion of ecosystems to food production. Household demographic factors, such as household size, have important implications for resource consumption, with rapid increases in household numbers associated with loss in biodiversity.

Human population size, growth, density and migration are underlying causes of biodiversity loss. Global population is projected to grow to anywhere between 8 billion and 11 billion by the middle of the century, with much of the growth expected to take place in the humid tropics whose ecosystems harbor the planet’s richest forms of biodiversity. Increased demand for goods and services to meet the needs of a growing population will undoubtedly exert more pressure on the components of biodiversity—ecosystems, genes and species. Slowing population growth will not only ease off pressure on biodiversity, but will also empower women and their families.