Our life is highly dependent on natural resources. Everything we have around us is made of materials that, in one way or another, have been extracted from nature. Thus, the conservation of natural resources, or also focused as the environmental Conservation, is an essential task to move towards a more sustainable economy that takes into account their availability, also for future generations. If you want to learn more about the Conservation of natural resources keep reading this article by Ecologist Verde.
"Natural resource" is defined as any exploitable element of nature. There are very different types of natural resources, such as water, soil, minerals, oxygen, organic matter, animal organisms, plants and fungi …
Each of these elements has characteristics that allow us to use them differently and, furthermore, they are threatened by different factors, which will make the management different in each case. In this other post we will talk more about the use or exploitation of natural resources, their definition, types and examples.
Especially important is the generation (or regeneration) rate of the resource in question. All resources are generated at a certain speed; some are generated so slowly that we consider them "non-renewable". This would be the case of products derived (or types) of oil or coal, such as diesel, kerosene, petroleum coke, coal or anthracite. Natural gas is methane gas accumulated on top of oil fields; however, methane gas is also produced in the decomposition of organic matter, then called "biogas". Many waste treatment and water purification plants have biomethanizers, which is why their production has increased. In the category of Non-renewable natural resources we also find minerals.
Other natural resources are produced in such great quantity that we consider them infinite or renewable natural resources. They are, for example, sunlight, wind … These resources far exceed our consumption capacity and are generated independently of our management.
Straddling the two are resources that are not infinite, but that do have a great renovation capacity, such as wood produced by forests, fisheries, fresh water (except in cases of underground water reserves without renewal), etc. These require a planned and careful management, given that if you can not incur overexploitation.
If you want to learn more about the definition of natural resources and their types, enter here.
If we consume the resource faster than it is generated, we will be overexploiting the resource. In cases where this overexploitation persists, either with very intense activity in short periods of time (for example oil), or with moderate but continuous activity (for example, land use), the total depletion of the resource can be reached, with serious damage to both the environment and the economy.
Let's see a couple of examples of overexploitation:
Monoculture agriculture is one of the factors that most impoverishes the soil. The soil has a varied composition in which there are a multitude of minerals that plants require for their growth. But not all plants require the same mineral in the same proportion. Thus, a certain plant, over time, will use a specific mineral until it is exhausted from the soil, leading to the depletion of this resource. Although other plants need it to a lesser extent, they will no longer be able to grow there. Therefore, the best is polyculture agriculture, in which the soil is allowed to rest and the crops are rotated so as not to deplete any of their resources.
Species reproduce at a rate higher than that which their environment is capable of maintaining under normal conditions. Therefore, there is always a certain mortality rate, say a "surplus" that we can dispose of. Intensive fishing and hunting, especially if they do not take into account the size of the hatchlings or juveniles, become unsustainable when this surplus or replacement rate is exceeded.
Here we tell you everything about the Overexploitation of natural resources: causes and consequences.
As we have already seen, the environmental conservation or preservation of the environment and, specifically, the conservation of the natural resources that we use (or if not all, yes the preservation of many of them), depends to a large extent on how we manage them. Both minerals and fuels and living resources should be subject to scrutiny, not only to avoid their depletion, but also to prevent the environmental impacts derived from their extraction, which are often serious. Learn more about What is negative and positive environmental impact with examples.
Here are some actions and measures for the conservation of natural resources:
If you want to read more articles similar to Conservation of natural resources, we recommend that you enter our category of Other environment.