Plan and Conserve – A Source Book on Linking Population and Environmental Services in Communities

Robert Engelman

Debates on population and environmental dynamics go back to the 18th century and show no signs of ending. Aspects of the linkage are clear enough, however, to raise the question: How can the connections between population and the environment be applied to improve the lives of individuals and the well-being of communities? One approach to this objective improves local environmental, health and economic conditions in ways that, as a side benefit, may ease the pressure of human population on local natural resources. The linkage often involves two seemingly disparate activities: management of local natural resources critical to community well-being and provision of family planning and other reproductive health services to those who seek them.

In recent years, dozens of environmental and development projects in developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia have attempted to integrate or otherwise link community-based activities related both to natural resources and to reproductive health. This publication profiles 42 such projects for which Population Action International (PAI) was able to document both natural resource conservation and reproductive health activities that included improved access to family planning services.