Population and Environment

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 1–31

Environmental quality and fertility: the effects of plant density, species richness, and plant diversity on fertility limitation

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11111-013-0199-3

Cite this article as:
Brauner-Otto, S.R. Popul Environ (2014) 36: 1. doi:10.1007/s11111-013-0199-3


The relationship between the environment and population has been of concern for centuries, and climate change is making this an even more pressing area of study. In poor rural areas, declining environmental conditions may elicit changes in family-related behaviors. This paper explores this relationship in rural Nepal looking specifically at how plant density, species richness, and plant diversity are related to women’s fertility limitation behavior. Taking advantage of a unique data set with detailed micro-level environmental measures and individual fertility behavior, I link geographically weighted measures of flora at one point in time to women’s later contraceptive use as a way to examine this complex relationship. I find a significant, positive relationship between plant density, species richness, and plant diversity and the timing of contraceptive use. Women in poor environmental conditions are less likely to terminate childbearing, or do so later, and therefore more likely to have larger families.


Natural resourcesEnvironmental qualityContraceptive useFertilityPopulationNepal

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada