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Changes in human population structure: Implications for biodiversity conservation

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Abstract

Human population size and growth have been recognized as important factors affecting biodiversity, but the impacts of population structural changes on biodiversity are not clear. In this paper, we made the first attempt to link human population structural changes with implications for biodiversity, using Wolong Nature Reserve (south-western China) for the endangered giant panda as a case study. From 1982 to 1996, the labor force (20–59 years of age) in the reserve jumped by 59.76 percent, although the total population size increased by only 14.65 percent. During the same time period, the sex ratio (males:females) of small children (0–4 years of age) changed from 0.98∶1 to 1.20∶1, and the percentage of children receiving education beyond the elementary school level increased from 14.04 to 27.47. The increase in labor force and the number of male-biased children could have more negative impacts on the panda habitat, whereas improving school education could help more young people move out of the reserve by going to college and finding jobs elsewhere and thus reduce destruction to the panda habitat.

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Correspondence to Jianguo Liu.

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Liu, J., Ouyang, Z., Tan, Y. et al. Changes in human population structure: Implications for biodiversity conservation. Popul Environ 21, 45–58 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02436120

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