[permaculture] how many acres per human?

Rain Tenaqiya raincascadia at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 26 12:09:49 EST 2009

According to the Ecological Footprint people in BC, the number of acres of "productive" land per person in the world right now is about three, and this doesn't set aside any productive wilderness for other species.
The data from Kat Anderson's book would be higher than for most of the rest of the US, as we had unusually high populations.  However, all of these population densities are dependent on technology and the amount of work that people are willing to do.  You can always increase yields with more work.  Plus, it is difficult to know which, if any, foraging people were truly living sustainably.  They tended to live unsustainably locally, and then move on to another area, cyclicly.  It does seem that they lived more sustainably than horticulturists, who had higher population densities, overall.
I would suggest avoiding a kind of ecological determinism that sets rigid limits on how many people per acre can be sustained in a given environment without very specific details about technology and hours of labor.  Look at how radically Plains cultures changed with the addition of just one species, the horse.


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