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Population and prehistory III: Food-dependent demography in variable environments

From Complex Time
Category
General Reference
author-supplied keywords
Consumption
Environmental fluctuation
Food ratio
Human demography
Preindustrial population
Production
Well-being
keywords
authors
Charlotte T. Lee
Cedric O. Puleston
Shripad Tuljapurkar
title
Population and prehistory III: Food-dependent demography in variable environments
type
journal
year
2009
source
Theoretical Population Biology
pages
179-188
volume
76
issue
3
link
http://www.mendeley.com/research/population-prehistory-iii-fooddependent-demography-variable-environments(0)

Abstract

The population dynamics of preindustrial societies depend intimately on their surroundings, and food is a primary means through which environment influences population size and individual well-being. Food production requires labor; thus, dependence of survival and fertility on food involves dependence of a population's future on its current state. We use a perturbation approach to analyze the effects of random environmental variation on this nonlinear, age-structured system. We show that in expanding populations, direct environmental effects dominate induced population fluctuations, so environmental variability has little effect on mean hunger levels, although it does decrease population growth. The growth rate determines the time until population is limited by space. This limitation introduces a tradeoff between population density and well-being, so population effects become more important than the direct effects of the environment: environmental fluctuation increases mortality, releasing density dependence and raising average well-being for survivors. We discuss the social implications of these findings for the long-term fate of populations as they transition from expansion into limitation, given that conditions leading to high well-being during growth depress well-being during limitation. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Counts

Citation count From Scopus. Refreshed every 5 days.
24
Page views
3

Identifiers

  • doi: 10.1016/j.tpb.2009.06.003 (Google search)
  • issn: 00405809
  • sgr: 70349764466
  • scopus: 2-s2.0-70349764466
  • pui: 50566782

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