Population and Environment

Resource Guide

Population, Conservation, and Sustainable Development

So, you've mastered the basics of population trends and how they affect natural resources. Now you want to know more about specific topics like how is population growth affecting land use patterns, wildlife habitat or coastal fisheries? Or, what sustainable development programs are targeting population growth? Well, you're in luck. We've compiled a list of publications, articles, and Web sites to help you start finding even more answers. For some of the larger organizations, we've gone ahead and picked out a specific publication to get you started, but feel free to explore the link provided to find a lot more resources. While this list is by no means exhaustive, we hope that it will enhance your exploration of population trends and their relation to resource conservation. Happy hunting!


Here are several organizations and informative articles that can help you to get up to speed on the latest population statistics and trends.

The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) produces regular reports, newsletters, and fact sheets on population related issues, including background kits on demographic issues for individual countries. www.prb.org, (202) 483-1100.

The U.S. Census Bureau is a federal agency that compiles facts and statistics about U.S. population, including population information for each state. The Bureau also has information on global and international demographics. www.census.gov.

Population and Environment

A number of organizations are exploring the links between population and environmental well-being.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (WWICS) is a non-partisan institute that brings together pre-eminent thinkers to discuss global issues in environment and development. The WWICS Environmental Change and Security Project's 2004 report, From Planting Trees to Making Peace: The Next Steps for Environment, Population, and Security, compiles the thoughts of top thinkers regarding environment, population, and security concerns.

Population Connection produces fact sheets, publications, and curricular materials on population and consumption issues. www.populationconnection.org, (202) 332-2200

AAAS Atlas of Population and Environment. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC. http://atlas.aaas.org,  (202) 326-6400

Population Action International (PAI) is an independent policy advocacy group working to strengthen public awareness and support for population programs. Their Web site has information on the population-environment connection, including some remarkable community-based projects that integrate conservation, population and sustainable development. 

Land Use and Sprawl

As more and more people move from rural to urban areas, land use planning and regulations on sprawl represent important avenues when dealing with the effects of human population growth.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Smart Growth Office provides a variety of information on environmental issues related to land use and planning.  www.epa.gov/livability, (202) 566-2878.

Sustainable Development

Unrestricted population growth and poverty are closely related issues, and the following organizations are taking the lead in addressing some of the fundamental causes of underdevelopment throughout the world.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) helps governments, at their request, to formulate policies and strategies to reduce poverty and support sustainable development. The State of World Population 2005. United Nations Population Fund. New York, N.Y. 2005 (available October 12, 2005). www.unfpa.org.

The Sonoran Institute assists communities in western North America on economic and conservation issues.  Their free online service provides economic profiles for communities and counties on long-term trends in population, economics, transportation, and agriculture.  www.sonoraninstitute.org, (520) 290-0828.

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