Title

Ecological Footprints of War: An Exploratory Assessment of the Long-Term Impact of Violent Conflicts on National Biocapacity from 1962-2009

Abstract

Most large-scale studies exploring the relationship between natural resources or climate change and conflict have looked at how environmental factors lead to conflict. This paper reverses that causal arrow and presents an exploratory large-Nstudy of 187 countries from 1962 to 2009 assessing the long-term impact of violent conflicts on their environment. I also look at how this relationship is affected by economic and political factors. I use national biocapacity data calculated by the Global Footprint Network as a measure of environmental resources. The results indicate that in the long run, the impact of conflicts on a country's biocapacity is mediated by wealth and democratization. I find that both wealth and democratization are necessary to mitigate the environmental impact of wars. I also find that countries with high levels of democratization and low per capita GDP and countries with low levels of democratization and high per capita GDP experience a decline in their biocapacity in the long run as the intensity of conflict increases. These findings underscore how advanced, industrialized democracies export the environmental risk of wars onto other countries, which has implications for environmental security and international environmental justice.

Publisher

Springer

Publication Date

8-1-2020

Publication Title

Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Department

Environmental Studies

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1007/s13412-020-00626-5

Keywords

Biocapacity, Ecological impact, Conflict, International wars, Civil wars

Language

English

Format

text

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