David Pimentel
Department of Entomology &
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Marcia Pimentel
Division of Nutritional Sciences

Ithaca, NY 14853-0901

The survival of the human population and the vital environmental resources that support it are being threatened by overpopulation.   Entering the new millennium, stark contrasts are apparent between the availability of our natural resources and the billions of humans who require them for their survival (Pimentel and Pimentel, 2003).   Each day about a quarter million people are added to the nearly 6.5 billion who already exist (PRB, 2003).   Yet, the supply of natural resources that supports human life, including food, fresh water, quality soil, energy, and biodiversity is being polluted, degraded, and depleted.
Considering the status of natural resources that support agriculture, it is evident that quality of human life, and survival are threatened.   Many of these resources, especially those that are finite, like fossil fuel, are being depleted either by overuse or overexploitation.   The on-going impact of population growth is being felt on all the life-supporting natural resources essential for agriculture and food production.


The current world population of nearly 6.5 billion, doubled during the last 45 years.   Based on its present growth rate of 1.3% each year, the world population is projected to double again within a mere 50 years (PRB, 2003).
Many countries and world regions have populations that are rapidly expanding.   For example, China's present population is 1.4 billion and, despite the governmental policy of permitting only one-child per couple, still growing at an annual rate of 0.6% (PRB, 2003). China, recognizing the its serious overpopulation problem, has recently passed legislation that strengthens its one-child per couple policy (China, 2002).   However, because of its young age structure,...