Population, Environment, and Development

Geographers have a long-standing interest in the patterns and processes associated with human population growth and distributions, the impacts of population on the environment, and sustainable development. Human population growth has increased exponentially over the past 150 yrs. (years) and is significantly affecting native ecosystems through the exploitation of freshwater, arable lands, forests, and oceans. There is great interest in addressing these challenges through sustainable development in all world regions.


The world's population was half a billion in 1650 and reached 1 billion in 1804. By 1927, the population had doubled to 2 billion, and it reached 3 billion in 1959. In 2009, there were 6.8 billion people on the planet, and the world's population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050. This rapid increase ...

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