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Nature. 2014 Nov 6;515(7525):50-7. doi: 10.1038/nature13945.

Implications of agricultural transitions and urbanization for ecosystem services.

Author information

1
Percy FitzPatrick Institute, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, Cape Town 7701, South Africa.
2
Organic Plant Production and Agroecosystems Research in the Tropics and Subtropics, Universität Kassel, Steinstr. 19, D-37213 Witzenhausen, Germany.
3
Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics, Universität Kassel and Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Steinstr. 19, D-37213 Witzenhausen, Germany.
4
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Georg-August-Universität, Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5, D-37073 Germany.
5
Agroecology, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Grisebachstr. 6, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany.

Abstract

Historically, farmers and hunter-gatherers relied directly on ecosystem services, which they both exploited and enjoyed. Urban populations still rely on ecosystems, but prioritize non-ecosystem services (socioeconomic). Population growth and densification increase the scale and change the nature of both ecosystem- and non-ecosystem-service supply and demand, weakening direct feedbacks between ecosystems and societies and potentially pushing social-ecological systems into traps that can lead to collapse. The interacting and mutually reinforcing processes of technological change, population growth and urbanization contribute to over-exploitation of ecosystems through complex feedbacks that have important implications for sustainable resource use.

PMID:
25373674
DOI:
10.1038/nature13945
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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