Over the hills and further away from coast: Global geospatial patterns of human and environment over the 20th-21st centuries

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Over the hills and further away from coast : Global geospatial patterns of human and environment over the 20th-21st centuries. / Kummu, Matti; De Moel, Hans; Salvucci, Gianluigi; Viviroli, Daniel; Ward, Philip J.; Varis, Olli.

In: Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 11, No. 3, 034010, 03.03.2016.

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@article{0286c3c851b448e5a6fe019dee01cd0a,
title = "Over the hills and further away from coast: Global geospatial patterns of human and environment over the 20th-21st centuries",
abstract = "Proximity to the coast and elevation are important geographical considerations for human settlement. Little is known, however, about how spatial variation in these factors exactly relates to human settlements and activities, and how this has developed over time. Such knowledge is important for identifying vulnerable regions that are at risk from phenomena such as food shortages and water stress. Human activities are a key driving force in global change, and thus detailed information on population distribution is an important input to any research framework on global change. In this paper we assess the global geospatial patterns of the distribution of human population and related factors, with regard to the altitude above sea level and proximity to the coast. The investigated factors are physical conditions, urbanisation, agricultural practices, economy, and environmental stress. An important novel element in this study, is that we included the temporal evolution in various factors related to human settlements and agricultural practices over the 20th century, and used projections for some of these factors up to the year 2050. We found population pressure in the proximity of the coast to be somewhat greater than was found in other studies. Yet, the distribution of population, urbanisation and wealth are evolving to become more evenly spread across the globe than they were in the past. Therefore, the commonly believed tendency of accumulation of people and wealth along coasts is not supported by our results. At the same time, food production is becoming increasingly decoupled from the trends in population density. Croplands are spreading from highly populated coastal zones towards inland zones. Our results thus indicate that even though people and wealth continue to accumulate in proximity to the coast, population densities and economic productivity are becoming less diverse in relation to elevation and distance from the coast.",
author = "Matti Kummu and {De Moel}, Hans and Gianluigi Salvucci and Daniel Viviroli and Ward, {Philip J.} and Olli Varis",
year = "2016",
month = "3",
day = "3",
doi = "10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034010",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
journal = "Environmental Research Letters",
issn = "1748-9326",
publisher = "IOP Publishing",
number = "3",

}

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Over the hills and further away from coast

T2 - Global geospatial patterns of human and environment over the 20th-21st centuries

AU - Kummu, Matti

AU - De Moel, Hans

AU - Salvucci, Gianluigi

AU - Viviroli, Daniel

AU - Ward, Philip J.

AU - Varis, Olli

PY - 2016/3/3

Y1 - 2016/3/3

N2 - Proximity to the coast and elevation are important geographical considerations for human settlement. Little is known, however, about how spatial variation in these factors exactly relates to human settlements and activities, and how this has developed over time. Such knowledge is important for identifying vulnerable regions that are at risk from phenomena such as food shortages and water stress. Human activities are a key driving force in global change, and thus detailed information on population distribution is an important input to any research framework on global change. In this paper we assess the global geospatial patterns of the distribution of human population and related factors, with regard to the altitude above sea level and proximity to the coast. The investigated factors are physical conditions, urbanisation, agricultural practices, economy, and environmental stress. An important novel element in this study, is that we included the temporal evolution in various factors related to human settlements and agricultural practices over the 20th century, and used projections for some of these factors up to the year 2050. We found population pressure in the proximity of the coast to be somewhat greater than was found in other studies. Yet, the distribution of population, urbanisation and wealth are evolving to become more evenly spread across the globe than they were in the past. Therefore, the commonly believed tendency of accumulation of people and wealth along coasts is not supported by our results. At the same time, food production is becoming increasingly decoupled from the trends in population density. Croplands are spreading from highly populated coastal zones towards inland zones. Our results thus indicate that even though people and wealth continue to accumulate in proximity to the coast, population densities and economic productivity are becoming less diverse in relation to elevation and distance from the coast.

AB - Proximity to the coast and elevation are important geographical considerations for human settlement. Little is known, however, about how spatial variation in these factors exactly relates to human settlements and activities, and how this has developed over time. Such knowledge is important for identifying vulnerable regions that are at risk from phenomena such as food shortages and water stress. Human activities are a key driving force in global change, and thus detailed information on population distribution is an important input to any research framework on global change. In this paper we assess the global geospatial patterns of the distribution of human population and related factors, with regard to the altitude above sea level and proximity to the coast. The investigated factors are physical conditions, urbanisation, agricultural practices, economy, and environmental stress. An important novel element in this study, is that we included the temporal evolution in various factors related to human settlements and agricultural practices over the 20th century, and used projections for some of these factors up to the year 2050. We found population pressure in the proximity of the coast to be somewhat greater than was found in other studies. Yet, the distribution of population, urbanisation and wealth are evolving to become more evenly spread across the globe than they were in the past. Therefore, the commonly believed tendency of accumulation of people and wealth along coasts is not supported by our results. At the same time, food production is becoming increasingly decoupled from the trends in population density. Croplands are spreading from highly populated coastal zones towards inland zones. Our results thus indicate that even though people and wealth continue to accumulate in proximity to the coast, population densities and economic productivity are becoming less diverse in relation to elevation and distance from the coast.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84962225461&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034010

DO - 10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034010

M3 - Article

VL - 11

JO - Environmental Research Letters

JF - Environmental Research Letters

SN - 1748-9326

IS - 3

M1 - 034010

ER -

ID: 3056287