Oral Session # 67: Urban Ecology I: Dynamics, Values, and Systems.
Presiding: A Yeakley
Thursday, August 7. 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM, SITCC Meeting Room 105.

Implications of household dynamics for resource consumption and biodiversity.

Liu, Jianguo1, Daily, Gretchen 2, Ehrlich, Paul2, Luck, Gary2, 1 Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, East Lansing, MI, USA2 Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford, CA, USA

ABSTRACT- Human population size and growth rate are often considered important drivers of biodiversity loss, while household dynamics are usually neglected. Aggregate demographic statistics may mask striking changes in the size and number of households, and their effects on biodiversity. Household dynamics influence per-capita consumption and thus biodiversity through, for example, fuelwood consumption, habitat alteration for home-building and associated activities, and greenhouse gas emissions. We found that growth in household numbers globally, and particularly in biodiversity hotspots (areas rich in endemic species and threatened by human activities), was more rapid than aggregate population growth between 1985 and 2000. Even in places where population size declined, the number of households increased substantially. Had average household size (i.e., the number of occupants) remained static, there would have been 155 million fewer households in hotspot countries in 2000. Reduction in average household size alone will add a projected 233 million additional households to hotspot countries from 2000-2015. Rapid increase in household numbers, often manifested as urban sprawl, and resultant higher per-capita resource consumption in smaller households pose serious challenges to biodiversity conservation.

Key words: Bidiversity, Resource consumption, Household dynamics, Human population