Effects of economic growth on biodiversity in the United States


  • Brian Czech,

  • Julianne H. Mills Busa,

  • Roger M. Brown

B. Czech is at Virginia Tech, Arlington, VA. Email: czech@vt.edu

J. H. Mills Busa is at Smith College, Northampton, MA. E-mail: jbusa@smith.edu

R. M. Brown is at the College of Agriculture, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. E-mail: rogerbrown@uky.edu


For many citizens and policymakers, the empirical relationship between economic growth and biodiversity conservation has not been sufficiently established for purposes of identifying the types of economic policies amenable to biodiversity conservation. Some think economic growth conflicts with biodiversity conservation; others think economic growth conduces biodiversity conservation. With panel data from 1997-2011, encompassing US continental states, we developed a series of statistical models to investigate the relationships among species endangerment, human population, and economic growth as indicated by GDP and per capita GDP. Species endangerment is highly correlated with population and GDP, and per capita GDP is a significant regressor of species endangerment. Across US continental states, competitive exclusion of non-human species occurs via human economic growth and population growth.