Climate change and the population collapse during the “Great Famine” in pre-industrial Europe
Article first published online: 2 JAN 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Ecology and Evolution
Volume 4, Issue 3, pages 284–291, February 2014
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2014; 4(3):284–291
- Issue published online: 4 FEB 2014
- Article first published online: 2 JAN 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 29 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 27 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Received: 24 OCT 2013
- Climate change;
- human dynamics;
- population collapse
Population dynamics, economy, and human demography started with Malthus, the idea that population growth is limited by resources and “positive checks” occur when population growth overshoots the available resources. In fact, historical evidence indicates that long-term climate changes have destabilized civilizations and caused population collapses via food shortages, diseases, and wars. One of the worst population collapses of human societies occurred during the early fourteenth century in northern Europe; the “Great Famine” was the consequence of the dramatic effects of climate deterioration on human population growth. Thus, part of my motivation was to demonstrate that simple theoretical-based models can be helpful in understanding the causes of population change in preindustrial societies. Here, the results suggest that a logistic model with temperature as a “lateral” perturbation effect is the key element for explaining the population collapse exhibited by the European population during the “Great Famine”.