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Ecosystem resilience, specialized adaptation and population decline: A modern Malthusian theory

Abstract.

The purpose of this article is to construct a theoretical framework characterizing the interactions among economic development, ecosystem equilibrium and possible population decline, and to discuss the population dynamics in the very long run. In our framework, economic activities bridge population and environment. On the one hand, human beings reform the environment through economic activities; on the other hand, economic activities decrease environmental resilience and increase the possibility of an environmental change in a discontinuous and irreversible pattern, as described in Arrow et al. (1995). Furthermore, a highly developed economy also causes over-specialization of human adaptation, which tends to exaggerate the impact of an environmental change on human population size.

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Received: 19 January 1999/Accepted: 3 July 1999

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Cyrus Chu, C., Tai, C. Ecosystem resilience, specialized adaptation and population decline: A modern Malthusian theory. J Popul Econ 14, 7–19 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480050157

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480050157

  • JEL classification: J10
  • Key words: Biodiversity
  • population dynamics
  • resilience