Fig.3.1: Human population levels through history. Since about 1000 CE the world population curve has attained a J-shaped pattern (the initial section of an exponential growth curve). Eventualy, the carrying capacity of our planet will trim us down to a logistic growth curve. Below: The scale of human activities and the resulting pressure on coastal ecosystems can be represented partly by observing population density and the trends in urbanisation over time.

Sources: modified after Cunningham et al,. 2003; AAAS 2000; Bryant et al., 1998;