Population and Environment

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 222–246 | Cite as

The population, agriculture, and environment nexus in Latin America: country-level evidence from the latter half of the twentieth century

  • David L. CarrEmail author
  • Anna Carla Lopez
  • Richard E. Bilsborrow
Original Paper


Unprecedented population growth and migration accompanied equally unprecedented land use and land cover change in Latin America during the latter decades of the twentieth century. Country-level data are examined with bivariate statistics to determine relationships between changes in population patterns and land use (agriculture and forest cover) from 1961 to 2001. In South America, large forest areas were eliminated during the period, while exceptionally high rates of forest clearing were ubiquitous in the Central America/Caribbean region. These environmental changes accompanied dissimilar initial population densities and different effects of population change on agriculture. While interacting with a host of political, socio-economic, and geographic processes, it appears that both Malthusian and Boserupian demographic processes were important drivers of deforestation. Given continued, though slowing, population growth, increased urban consumption, and future land use constraints, policy makers face myriad challenges in advancing sustainable agriculture-population dynamics in Latin America.


Population Environment Latin America Migration Land use Land cover LUCC Demography Deforestation Agriculture 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Carr
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anna Carla Lopez
    • 1
  • Richard E. Bilsborrow
    • 2
  1. 1.UC Santa Barbara (UCSB)Santa BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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