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Ecological Wealth & Changing Human Populations

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Human population changes—which have occurred throughout history—shift the spatial distribution of anthropogenic environmental pressures, creating legacies of environmental impacts. However, they also present opportunities for both conservation and restoration of ecological wealth, defined here as natural systems and the goods and services they provide, and the access to that wealth, which varies substantially between and within populations.

While many studies have focused on economic wealth as a driver of human population changes, less is known about the role and impact of population changes upon ecological wealth. The interactions between shifting populations and the placement and replacement of ecological wealth raise important science and policy questions.

Examples of research questions under this Theme might broadly include (but are in no way limited to):

  • How do different forms of governance affect socio-environmental sustainability in regions undergoing major population fluxes?
  • How will the geographic ranges of species be influenced by the interplay between climate change and human population movements?
  • To what extent does ecological wealth (or access to ecological wealth) act as a driver for population change, and what does that imply for public policy?

Information on projects funded under this Theme can be found here.