Threatened species and the spatial concentration of humans
Public policies that encourage high-density human living arrangements have been predicated explicitly on the assumption that certain spatial distributions of a fixed-size human population are less environmentally damaging than others. We examine the empirical validity of this assumption across 127 countries by analyzing whether the concentration of human presence in each country is related statistically to the percentage of species that were on the IUCN Red List in 2004. Our findings indicate that concentration of the human population is associated with reduced imperilment among amphibians but increased imperilment among reptiles, and birds.
KeywordsGini coefficient Imperiled species Spatial concentration of humans
This research was supported by Auburn University’s Center for Forest Sustainability and by a McIntire-Stennis grant awarded to the second author and administered through the School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences at AU. Our findings were presented at the 7th BIOECON conference held at Kings College, Cambridge, September 19–21, 2005 and at the University of Bath. We greatly appreciate comments and helpful suggestions provided by participants at both events, by our colleagues Diane Hite and Larry Teeter, and by an anonymous review. Any remaining errors are our responsibility.
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