environmental security database

The Environmental Security Database contains information on books, journal articles, papers, and newspaper clippings relating to the study of the links between environmental stress and violent conflict in developing countries. Much of the material was gathered over the course of several international research projects coordinated by the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto. Jane Willms, who has worked in the areas of environment and development since 1983, began assembling the library in 1991.

The Database includes around 20,000 items, with information from related fields such as ecological sciences, demography, development studies, economics, political science, conflict studies, anthropology, and regional studies. All of the material cited in the Database is housed at University College, University of Toronto, within the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.
Last database update: 2001

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Organization of the Data

A special coding system was developed that permits complex Boolean searches of the Database to produce subsets of items relating to specific issues. The codes are subject specific, so you may find them helpful in searching the collection. Users can conduct searches using either our coding system, keywords, names or titles.

The coding system was developed specifically for the purposes of environmental security research at the Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

Four articles available on the Web describe the conceptual framework underlying the organization and coding of the material in the Database:

Ordering an Item

Most of the items cited in the Database can be found through local research libraries. This database is made available as an aid to research, we are not a library.

Related Research Projects

Since 1989, a series of projects directed by Thomas Homer-Dixon and others have produced a significant body of research on the links between large-scale human-induced environmental stress and mass violence in developing countries.

The researchers have completed papers on water scarcity and conflict, rapid urbanization and urban violence, environmentally induced migration and ethnic violence, the determinants of social adaptation to environmental and population stress and methodological issues. They have also conducted and published case studies of environmental stress and violence in Rwanda, South Africa, Bangladesh-Assam, Bihar (India), Pakistan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Chiapas (Mexico), Gaza, and the Jordan and Senegal River basins. Project work has appeared in academic journals such as International Security and Scientific American and the popular press, including the New York Times and the Atlantic Monthly.

The first project on Environmental Change and Acute Conflict (1990-93) was jointly sponsored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Peace and Conflict Studies Program of the University of Toronto. It brought together a team of forty experts from four continents to conduct a preliminary study of the links between environmental stress and conflict.

The second project on Environmental Scarcities, State Capacity, and Civil Violence (1993-97) followed directly from the first. It sought to determine if scarcities of cropland, forests, water, and other renewable resources are decreasing the capabilities of governments in the developing world and, if so, whether this raises the probability of widespread civil violence such as riots, ethnic clashes, insurgency and revolution.

The third project on Environment, Population and Security (1994-96) was a joint effort of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. It gathered, evaluated, and disseminated existing data on causal linkages among population growth, renewable resource scarcities, migration and violent conflict.