Nature-dependent people: Mapping human direct use of nature for basic needs across the tropics

Fedele, G. et al. | Global Environmental Change | 2021 | Peer Reviewed | Original research |


Understanding where people depend the most on natural resources for their basic human needs is crucial for planning conservation and development interventions. For some people, nature is a direct source of food, clean water, and energy through subsistence uses. However, a high direct dependency on nature for basic needs makes people particularly sensitive to changes in climate, land cover, and land tenure. Based on more than 5 million household interviews conducted in 85 tropical countries, we identified where people highly depend on nature for their basic needs. Our results show that 1.2 billion people, or 30% of the population across tropical countries, are highly dependent on nature. In places where people highly depend on nature for their basic needs, nature-based strategies that protect, restore or sustainably manage ecosystems must be carefully designed to promote inclusive human development alongside environmental benefits.