Article

Human Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 599-611

Will Limited Land, Water, and Energy Control Human Population Numbers in the Future?

  • David PimentelAffiliated withCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Comstock Hall, Cornell University Email author 
  • , Michele WhitecraftAffiliated withCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Comstock Hall, Cornell University
  • , Zachary R. ScottAffiliated withCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Comstock Hall, Cornell University
  • , Leixin ZhaoAffiliated withCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Comstock Hall, Cornell University
  • , Patricia SatkiewiczAffiliated withCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Comstock Hall, Cornell University
  • , Timothy J. ScottAffiliated withCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Comstock Hall, Cornell University
  • , Jennifer PhillipsAffiliated withCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Comstock Hall, Cornell University
  • , Daniel SzimakAffiliated withCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Comstock Hall, Cornell University
  • , Gurpreet SinghAffiliated withCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Comstock Hall, Cornell University
    • , Daniela O. GonzalezAffiliated withCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Comstock Hall, Cornell University
    • , Tun Lin MoeAffiliated withCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Comstock Hall, Cornell University

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Abstract

Nearly 60% of the world’s human population is malnourished and the numbers are growing. Shortages of basic foods related to decreases in per capita cropland, water, and fossil energy resources contribute to spreading malnutrition and other diseases. The suggestion is that in the future only a smaller number of people will have access to adequate nourishment. In about 100 years, when it is reported that the planet will run out of fossil energy, we suggest that a world population of about two billion might be sustainable if it relies on renewable energy technologies and also reduces per capita use of the earth’s natural resources.

Keywords

Sustainable world population Fossil fuels Population growth Agricultural land degradation