Implications of agricultural transitions and urbanization for ecosystem services

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


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / statistics & numerical data
  • Agriculture / trends*
  • China
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / trends*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Edible Grain / growth & development
  • Feedback
  • Human Activities
  • Models, Economic
  • Niger
  • Population Growth
  • Sweden
  • Urban Population
  • Urbanization / trends*