Environmental Quality and Fertility: the Effects of Plant Density, Species Richness, and Plant Diversity on Fertility Limitation
Brauner-Otto, Sarah R. 2014. “Environmental Quality and Fertility: the Effects of Plant Density, Species Richness, and Plant Diversity on Fertility Limitation.” Population and Environment 36(1):1-31.
The relationship between the environment and population has been of concern for centuries, and climate change is making this an even more pressing area of study. In poor rural areas, declining environmental conditions may elicit changes in family-related behaviors. This paper explores this relationship in rural Nepal looking specifically at how plant density, species richness, and plant diversity are related to women’s fertility limitation behavior. Taking advantage of a unique data set with detailed micro-level environmental measures and individual fertility behavior, I link geographically weighted measures of flora at one point in time to women’s later contraceptive use as a way to examine this complex relationship. I find a significant, positive relationship between plant density, species richness, and plant diversity and the timing of contraceptive use. Women in poor environmental conditions are less likely to terminate childbearing, or do so later, and therefore more likely to have larger families.