Inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to population-environment research for sustainability aims: a review and appraisal


Diana Hummel; Susana Adamo; Alex de Sherbinin; Laura Murphy; Rimjhim Aggarwal; Leo Zulu; Liu, Jianguo; Kyle Knight

Journal or Book Title: Population and Environment

Keywords: Population–environment theory; methodology; political ecology; sustainable development; STIRPAT;

Volume/Issue: Online, May 30, 2012

Year Published: 2012


The causes and consequences of demographic changes for the environment, and the possible ways of influencing population dynamics to achieve ‘sustainability’, have been the subject of many debates in science and policy in recent decades. However, the body of knowledge concerning relationships between population dynamics and sustainability is quite fragmented, dispersed over many disciplines, and encompasses diverse theories, paradigms and methodologies. This paper reviews four selected frameworks: linear, multiplicative, mediated, and system-theoretical approaches and perspectives. We represent how population–environment relationships are conceptualized, provide examples of research questions and accepted approaches, and critically assess their utility for different sorts of research for sustainable development. We note the growing recognition of the value of embracing complexity in population–environment research, and how this is consistent with normative aims of development.

DOI: 10.1007/s11111-012-0176-2

Type of Publication: Journal Article

Publisher: Springer