Population and Biodiversity

Population and Biodiversity Programme

PSN’s Population and Biodiversity programme seeks to clarify and advance understanding of the ways that population dynamics interact with the environment to influence rates of biodiversity loss, and the positive contribution that advancing sexual and reproductive health can play in conservation efforts.

Credit: www.bluewaikiki.com

The combination of increasing levels of population growth and consumption is changing the planet’s ecosystems at an unprecedented rate and scale, with rates of biodiversity loss that pose a major threat to human well-being.

Population dynamics, including population growth, density, urbanisation and migration, are important underlying causes of biodiversity loss, with human demands for food, energy, land and other natural resources placing ecosystems under increasing stress.

Population growth and density are particularly high in areas where there is the greatest biodiversity and the threat of loss is most severe. In many of these ‘biodiversity hotspots’, women have a high unmet need for contraception and other sexual and reproductive health services.

While conservationists acknowledge the role of human population dynamics as an underlying driver of declining levels of biodiversity, few conservation strategies directly address unsustainable patterns of population growth. Yet numerous community-based projects in developing countries provide examples of integrated Population Health Environment (PHE) approaches that successfully combine conservation with reproductive health provision.

This approach offers scope and synergy to increase the effectiveness of biodiversity protection interventions, and enables women to choose whether or when to become pregnant, which benefits both the health and development of local communities and the ecosystems upon which they depend.

Research and publication highlights