Benno Hansen

13 posts · 23,495 views

M.Sc. Horticulture (ecology, bioinformatics a.o.), University of Copenhagen. Office clerk in major pharmaceutical company's patent dept. (TH!NK2 posts disabled due to unforeseen change in URL.)

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  • September 24, 2011
  • 08:56 AM

Blood and soil!? Scarcity and conflict re-revisited

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

Inspired by the growing body of literature linking natural resource scarcity to conflict, dating back at least to the 1960s but gaining momentum in recent years, Norwegian Ole Magnus Theisen published a review of the statistical literature on this link in 2008. In short, his conclusion was that large scale violence was generally not linked to scarcity of natural resources; but in stead to poverty... Read more »

  • August 28, 2011
  • 10:12 AM

Three degrees warming doubles risk of civil war

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

Global patterns of civil conflict are directly associated with planetary-scale climate change. Specifically in tropical countries, the risk of civil war have just been shown to double in warmer El Niño years (to about 6% risk per country per year) compared to cooler El Niña years (when the risk is about 3%).

"When you think about it, car accidents happen all the time. But they become more likely... Read more »

  • August 22, 2011
  • 05:53 PM

Risk of riots linked to food prices

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

In 19th century Bavaria rye prices correlated to property crime rates (see Correlations from weather to sociology). When food prices spiked in 2008 commentators were smart enough to mention this might have something to do with the riots across the 3rd world (see World's poor are up in arms over food prices). The first half of 2011 has seen many riots in Africa and the Middle East and again it has... Read more »

  • October 31, 2010
  • 11:53 AM

"Rebel access to [natural] resources crucially shapes armed civil conflict"

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

How does rebel access to natural resources affect conflict? "How". Not "if". That is the question investigated by Päivi Lujala of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, recently published in the Journal of Peace Research.

Or rather: Where previous research has either suggested a link or sought to explain it by an indirect effect through resource abundance tending to corrupt weak ... Read more »

  • May 26, 2010
  • 06:05 PM

Google Maps shows North Korea logging endangered tigers' protected forest

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

This scandal has been reported on several websites: The sharp images from Google Earth clearly shows the North Korean communist dictatorship is logging forest areas in a UN national park. Not only does the megalomaniac Kim Jong-il seek to build a nuclear armament, impoverish his subdued people and occasionally sink South Korean ships – he's also cutting down trees in the fragile, ancient forest ... Read more »

Tang, L., Shao, G., Piao, Z., Dai, L., Jenkins, M., Wang, S., Wu, G., Wu, J., & Zhao, J. (2010) Forest degradation deepens around and within protected areas in East Asia. Biological Conservation, 143(5), 1295-1298. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.01.024  

  • February 24, 2010
  • 07:32 AM

Food security: climate change and sustainable development (TH!NK2½ part I)

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

... Read more »

Godfray, H., Beddington, J., Crute, I., Haddad, L., Lawrence, D., Muir, J., Pretty, J., Robinson, S., Thomas, S., & Toulmin, C. (2010) Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People. Science, 327(5967), 812-818. DOI: 10.1126/science.1185383  

  • June 7, 2009
  • 11:54 AM

Indigenous Peruvians and police in deadly clashes at oil and mining protests

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

Sometimes researchers are blamed of being alarmists stirring up fears of a fictional dystopia by the business-as-usual crowd. But it seems a forewarning of conflict over oil in Peru is proceeding according to exactly such a warning. The news first...... Read more »

  • March 25, 2009
  • 07:23 AM

Opinion: Nations don't go to war over water

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

Writer Wendy Barnaby has written an essay for academic journal Nature in stead of a book for her publisher as the conclusion on "water wars" wouldn't sell. Some facts...There are 263 cross-boundary waterways in the world. Between 1948 and 1999, cooperation over water, including the signing of treaties, far outweighed conflict over water and violent conflict in particular. Of 1,831 instances of... Read more »

Barnaby, W. (2009) Do nations go to war over water?. Nature, 458(7236), 282-283. DOI: 10.1038/458282a  

  • September 8, 2008
  • 05:49 PM

Ecowar: The political ecology of war

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

So far this blogging project has been characterized by the Google News Alert I set up way back when I first got the idea and whatever inspiration I got studying for my bachelor's and master's degrees in horticulture, a natural science. But I just did a search using both regular Google (doh!) and Scholar using all fields of science not just the exact ones. There is a lot of texts out there... Read more »

  • August 26, 2008
  • 02:14 PM

Three cases of migration and conflict: Hurricane Katrina, Bangladesh and The Dust Bowl

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

"Environmental change can trigger large out-migration, which can cause violent conflict in areas receiving migrants."

A peer reviewed article on environmental migration would fit right into my little project here, right? As I realized Reuveny's Ecomigration and Violent Conflict: Case Studies and Public Policy Implications was a look at only three incidents and that two of these were from the USA... Read more »

  • July 30, 2008
  • 05:00 PM

Environmental degradation kills 62 million people each year

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

Do you think the headline figure sounds a little bit too high? Perhaps you are right because the year 2007 study I just read includes such causes of death as AIDS and second hand smoking. But rather than being just a look at the body count it's actually an assessment of the relationship between population growth and escalating degradation of the environment and how both factors kill people.

This... Read more »

D Pimentel, S Cooperstein, H Randell, D Filiberto, S Sorrentino, B Kaye, C Nicklin, J Yagi, J Brian, J O’Hern.... (2007) Ecology of Increasing Diseases: Population Growth and Environmental Degradation. Human Ecology, 35(6), 653-668. DOI: 10.1007/s10745-007-9128-3  

  • May 19, 2008
  • 05:21 PM

Natural resources and civil war

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

My third research blogging post takes a real quick look at What Do We Know about Natural Resources and Civil War? by Michael Ross, year 2004. It is a review of several other studies; work by Paul Collier, Anke Hoeffler and James Fearon seems to have been among the most influential and the work of Le Billon - which I blogged about this March - is reviewed too.

The studies vary widely in scope and... Read more »

  • March 13, 2008
  • 04:03 PM

Climate change and conflict frequency

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

The cornerstone of this blog here is a peer reviewed correlation of climate and war in historical China: see my first post from July 2007. I just wrote a thorough summary of the article at; here's a shorter version and my own take on it.

Short summary

Zhang's study is a thorough mathematical correlation from climate to war frequency done on a macro-historical level. Warfare has... Read more »

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