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  Section: Introduction to Botany » Plants and Human Welfare
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Feeding an Increasing Population

Plants and Human Welfare
  Feeding an Increasing Population
  Other Human Uses for Plants
  Cultivated Plants
  Viruses, Bacteria, and Fungi

Problems of population increase must be considered whenever discussing food resources. Thera te of population increase is far greaer than that of food production. This tendency portends alarming possibilities. For a long stretch of time, the population of the world remained relatively stable. The population began to increase significantly around the year 1650, doubling in 200 years. Another doubling of the population occurred in the 80 years following, and still another in the 45 years following. While one may be inclined to use this knowledge to project another doubling of the population in 20 years, followed by one in 10 years, and followed by one in 5 years, such projection borders on the absurd. Nevertheless, it is quite proper to be concerned about population increase and our capacity to increase food production to meet demands. Today, more than one billion people are not assured sufficient food, and perhaps as many as twenty million people die of starvation each year. Some help comes in the form of plant breeding. Better plants are continually being produced by genetic methods. Hybrid corn is a notable example of success in this realm. Unfortunately, however, it is not enough.


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