Terra Populus

If you could watch human population and Earth’s environment change over time and place, you’d see elaborate ripples of ebbs and flows, synergies and conflicts as each shapes and is shaped by the other. You’d also see patterns emerge that would provide invaluable insights as we create strategies now to shape a future world in which both humans and nature can thrive.

Painting that remarkable picture is the job of Terra Populus.

Funded by an $8 million grant from the National Science Foundation, TerraPop is combining historic census data with global environmental data including land cover, land use and climate records into a common database and disseminating it to researchers around the world.

TerraPop aims to accomplish four specific tasks:

  1. Collect, preserve, integrate and describe data sets that measure changes in the world’s population and environment over the past two centuries
  2. Develop tools and procedures to manage and disseminate the data collections
  3. Engage the scientific community and the public
  4. Ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.

TerraPop is a collaboration of The Minnesota Population Center, the Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota Libraries, and faculty from the College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Engineering, as well as Columbia University and the University of Michigan.

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