Population and Biodiversity in a Natural Resources-Dependent Community

Dirgha J. Ghimire, University of Michigan
William G. Axinn, University of Michigan

This article examines the influence of population on local terrestrial biodiversity, with a special focus on species diversity. We construct a theoretical framework for the study of micro-level population-environment relationships that emphasizes the multidimensional nature of population influence on flora diversity. We use newly available longitudinal measures of vegetation counts, local population dynamics, and measures of local community context from the foothills of Nepalese Himalayas to provide empirical estimates of our theoretical model. This empirical investigation reveals that multiple dimensions of population influence floral diversity. Multiple dimensions of population-size, age structure, birth and household size - each have a large negative effect on local flora diversity; however, these effects are greatly varied by the property right/management regimes of the local resource. This intriguing finding is consistent with the hypothesis that human influence on environment, particularly local biodiversity, is greatly mediated by the property right/management regimes of the local resource.

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Presented in Session 155: Anthropogenic Environmental Change