AS Geography - Population and Resources.

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Population and Resources.
The world's population has been growing at an alarming rate for many years and this
has lead to many Geographers to question whether or not the Earth can cope with the
increased pressure upon its finite resources.
Many discussions have occurred on this subject and two contrasting approaches have
been identified.
Two groups:
1. Optimistic Models (Boserup and Simon)
2. Pessimistic Models (Malthus)
Optimistic Approach:
Ester Boserup, in The Conditions of Agricultural Change: The Economic of Agrarian
Change under Population Pressure 1965, stated that environments have limits that
restrict activity. However these limits can be altered by the use of appropriate
technologies, which offer the possibility of resource development or creation. People
have an underlying freedom to make a difference to their lives.
Boserup stated that food resources are created by population pressure. With demand,
farm systems become more intensive, for example by making use of shorter fallow
periods. The pressure to change comes from the demand for increased food
production. Thus necessity is the mother of all invention.
· Increasing intensity of agriculture, including a shift from "slash and burn" to
systems which make us of irrigation schemes.
· The Green Revolution (using MEDW agricultural methods within LEDCs) ­ the
widespread introduction of HYVs (HighYielding Varieties) of grains (rice and
wheat), the use of fertilisers and pesticides, water control (including irrigation)
and mechanisation. The increased yields have allowed a larger population to be
1. Population Increase
2. Increased demand for food
3. Agricultural productivity is improved
4. More food produced
5. Population growth continues
Julian Simon: Focuses on other resources, they refer to a number of socalled
environmental scares which came to nothing: the fear of nuclear power in the 1970s,
acid rain in the 1980s, GM crops and falling sperm count in the 1990s.
This follows Boserup's main theory, that necessity is the mother of all invention.

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Population and Resources.
Pessimistic Approach:
In An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) an English clergyman and
Economist, Thomas Malthus suggested that overpopulation should be viewed
He predicted that if the world's population continues to increase it would eventually
outgrow the food available and this would then result in poverty and widespread
famines.…read more

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Population and Resources.
Accelerated population growth in LEDCs since 1960s has renewed Malthusian fears.
In 1972 the Club of Rome, a group of neomalthusians from ten countries, published
"The Limits to Growth" Model. Their basic conclusion was:
· If present growth trends in the worlds population continue, as if associated
industrialisation, pollution, food production and resource depletion continue
unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reaches some time within
the next 100 years.…read more


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