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Population dynamics and environmental change in Europe

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Roger Milego

on 20 September 2013

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Transcript of Population dynamics and environmental change in Europe

Population dynamics and environmental change in Europe
Human population has a powerful effect on the environment, but...
... the relationship between population and environment is complex and badly understood.
, population
and population
affect the environment in different ways.
At the NRC IGLUSP meeting (2012) it was mentioned that population dynamics play an important role in land developments.
Population size & growth
Population distribution
Population structure
Population dynamics: status & trends
Population size
Environmental change and population dynamics
- Human populations have a powerful effect on the environment and viceversa.
- Several factors mediate.
- The relationship is complex and difficult to assess.
- Population is slowly growing thanks to migration and ageing, but it is expected to decline.
- Population is more and more concentrated in urban areas.
- Population size affects the environment in terms of resources, waste and pollution.
- Population distribution puts pressure on land, through urbanisation.
- Population income levels are related to some environmental behaviours.
- Population density, through urbanisation, strongly linked to air quality and climate change.
- Ageing and urbanisation tend to increase current & future vulnerabilities to climate change.
- Population pressure on water is a compromise between increasing water demand and water use efficiency.
- Wealthier population groups produce more waste, but recycle more.

Final statements
- Population dynamics should not be forgotten as a driving force and main actor in several environmental challenges.

- Further research is needed. Case studies might be very useful.
Current status
Climate change
Air pollution
How they interact?
We are 503.7 million inhabitants (EU27, 2012)
Slow & steady increase
Low fertility rate, compensated by live expectancy & migration
Future scenario of decrease
Differences amongst regions
Population distribution
Average population density in the EU-27 is 117 inhab/km2, but...
...highest densities in Central Europe, along coastlines and in big metropolitan areas
Population structure
is and will be a major trend
Trends in
Before the crisis...
After the crisis...
Source: Own creation, based on Hunter, 2000
Complex interaction
- Population
--> resources consumption and waste and pollution generation
- Population
--> LU/LC changes, such as urbanisation --> Air quality, CC, biodiversity loss...
- Population
structure --> migration flows
- Population
levels --> environmental behaviours, e.g. emission levels or waste disposal
Examples of interaction
Population dynamics and LU/LC changes
between population growth and urban growth, although it is very difficult to set up clear trends. Impossible to control
mediating factors
of each country and/or region.
Policy regulations
seem to pay an important role, both in
urban development when population is decreasing or
urban sprawl in front of some population dynamics pressure.
Those regions with a high population increase have not increased agriculture.
No specific trends can be detected when comparing changes in forest areas and population dynamics.
No evidences of other LU/LC changes which can directly or indirectly be caused by population dynamics.
Population and air pollution
Air pollution is very much linked to the urbanisation process
: main cause of climate change is high consumption by people in developed countries where population growth has been low.
Contributions to CO2 emissions do not correlate with population growth.
Population and climate change
Several impacts:
- Diseases and premature deaths.
- Heat waves, flooding, water scarcity...
Worsened by ageing and urban concentration

Population dynamics and...
... water
Population dynamics are not the main pressure factor on the water cycle. Other factors have more influence, such as increasing demand from
economic activities
urbanisation type
or the effects of
climate change
Wealthier countries tend to produce more waste per capita but they recycle waste in higher rates
Project manager: Gorm Dige
Roger Milego
Many thanks!
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