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Resource depletion is the consumption of a resource faster than it can be replenished. Resources are commonly divided between renewable resources and non-renewable resources. (See also Mineral resource classification.) Use of either of these forms of resources beyond their rate of replacement is considered to be resource depletion.

Resource depletion is most commonly used in reference to farming, fishing, mining, water, and fossil fuels.[1]

Causes[edit]

Minerals[edit]

Minerals are needed to provide food, clothing, and housing. A USGS study found a significant long-term trend over the 20th century for nonrenewable resources such as minerals to supply a greater proportion of the raw material inputs to the non-fuel, non-food sector of the economy; an example is the greater consumption of crushed stone, sand, and gravel used in construction.[2]

Large-scale exploitation of minerals began in the Industrial Revolution around 1760 in England and has grown rapidly ever since. Most of the world's mineral ores are still being extracted from mines over fifty years old. Miners cope by digging deeper, accepting lower grades of ore, and using technology to extract the minerals. Virtually all basic industrial metals (copper, iron, bauxite, etc), as well as rare earth minerals, are facing output limitations.[3]

Oil[edit]

Peak oil is the period when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. It relates to a long-term decline in the available supply of petroleum. This, combined with increasing demand, will significantly increase the worldwide prices of petroleum derived products. Most significant will be the availability and price of liquid fuel for transportation.

The US Department of Energy in the Hirsch report indicates that “The problems associated with world oil production peaking will not be temporary, and past “energy crisis” experience will provide relatively little guidance.”[4]

Deforestation[edit]

Deforestation is the clearing of natural forests by logging or burning of trees and plants in a forested area. As a result of deforestation, presently about one half of the forests that once covered the Earth have been destroyed.[5] It occurs for many different reasons, and it has several negative implications on the atmosphere and the quality of the land in and surrounding the forest.

Causes[edit]

One of the main causes of deforestation is clearing forests for agricultural reasons. As the population of developing areas, especially near rainforests, increases, the need for land for farming becomes more and more important.[6] For most people, a forest has no value when its resources aren’t being used, so the incentives to deforest these areas outweigh the incentives to preserve the forests. For this reason, the economic value of the forests is very important for developing worlds.[7]

Environmental impact[edit]

Because deforestation is so extensive, it has made several significant impacts on the environment, including carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, changing the water cycle, an increase in soil erosion, and a decrease in biodiversity. Deforestation is often cited as a cause of global warming. Because trees and plants remove carbon dioxide and emit oxygen into the atmosphere, the reduction of forests contribute to about 12% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions.[8] One of the most pressing issues that deforestation creates is soil erosion. The removal of trees causes higher rates of erosion, increasing risks of landslides, which is a direct threat to many people living close to deforested areas. As forests get destroyed, so does the habitat for millions of animals. It is estimated that 80% of the world’s known biodiversity lives in the rainforests, and the destruction of these rainforests is accelerating extinction at an alarming rate.[9]

Controlling deforestation[edit]

The United Nations and the World Bank created programs such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which works especially with developing countries to use subsidies or other incentives to encourage citizens to use the forest in a more sustainable way.[10] In addition to making sure that emissions from deforestation are kept to a minimum, an effort to educate people on sustainability and helping them to focus on the long-term risks is key to the success of these programs.[11] Reforestation is also being encouraged in many countries in an attempt to repair the damage that deforestation has done.[12]

Wetlands[edit]

Wetlands are areas that are often saturated by enough surface or groundwater to sustain vegetation that is usually adapted to saturated soil conditions, such as cattails, bulrushes, red maples, wild rice, blackberries, cranberries, and peat moss. Because some varieties of wetlands are rich in minerals and nutrients and provide many of the advantages of both land and water environments they contain diverse species and possibly even form a food chain. When human activities take away resources many species are affected. An ecosystem contains many species.

Years ago people assumed wetlands were useless so it was not a large concern when they were being dug up. Many people want to use them for developing homes etc. On the other side of the argument people believe the wetlands are a vital source for other life forms and a part of the life cycle.

Wetlands provide services for:

  1. Food and habitat
  2. Improving water quality
  3. Commercial fishing
  4. Floodwater reduction
  5. Shoreline stabilization
  6. Recreation

Some loss of wetlands resulted from natural causes such as erosion, sedimentation (the buildup of soil by the settling of fine particles over a long period of time), subsidence (the sinking of land because of diminishing underground water supplies), and a rise in the sea level. However, 95% of the losses since the 1970s have been caused by humans, especially by the conversion of wetlands to agricultural land.[citation needed] More than half (56%) the losses of coastal wetlands resulted from dredging for marinas, canals, port development, and, to some extent, from natural shoreline erosion. The conversion of wetlands causes the loss of natural pollutant sinks. The dramatic decline in wetlands globally suggests not only loss of habitat but also diminished water quality.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/103/Depletion-Conservation-Natural-Resources.html
  2. ^ Materials Flow and Sustainability, US Geological Survey, Fact Sheet FS-068-98, June 1998.
  3. ^ Klare, M. T. (2012). The Race for What’s Left. Metropolitan Books. ISBN 9781250023971. 
  4. ^ DOE Hirsch Report
  5. ^ “Global Deforestation". Global Change Curriculum. University of Michigan Global Change Program. January 4, 2006
  6. ^ Butler, Rhett A. "Impact of Population and Poverty on Rainforests". Mongabay.com / A Place Out of Time: Tropical Rainforests and the Perils They Face. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
  7. ^ Pearce, David W (December 2001). "The Economic Value of Forest Ecosystems". Ecosystem Health, Vol. 7, no. 4. pp. 284–296.
  8. ^ G.R.van der Werf, D.C. Morton, R.S. DeFries, J.G.J. Olivier, P.S. Kasibhatla, R.B. Jackson, G.J. Collatz and J.T. Randerson, CO2 emissions from forest loss, Nature Geoscience, Volume 2 (November 2009) pp. 737–738
  9. ^ http://www.actionbioscience.org/environment/nilsson.html Do We Have Enough Forests? By Sten Nilsson
  10. ^ "Copenhagen Accord of 18 December 2009". UNFCC. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  11. ^ Diamond, Jared Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed; Viking Press 2004, pages 301–302
  12. ^ Jonathan A Foley, Ruth DeFries, Gregory P Asner, Carol Barford, et al. 2005 "Global Consequences of Land Use" Science 309:5734 570-574

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_depletion — Please support Wikipedia.
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134 news items

 
Investing.com
Sun, 20 Apr 2014 01:03:45 -0700

Due to world coal resources (not reserves) to a depth of 3000 metres being roughly estimated by Beijing's University of Petroleum at probably 200 trillion tons (200 000 billion tons), resource depletion is no problem. Yoko Ono will certainly disappear ...
 
Huffington Post
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:37:21 -0700

The increasing attention that is given to resource depletion, environmental damage and climate change has slowly gained acceptance by people everywhere. In some places more effectively than others. Nevertheless, the notion that our current path is not ...
 
The Williams record
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 23:09:46 -0700

Along with resource depletion and environmental changes already underway has come an upsurge in political strife, Klare says, threatening devastating consequences. Rapidly growing nations like China and India with shrinking stores of natural resources ...
 
The Market Oracle
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:33:45 -0700

Due to world coal resources (not reserves) to a depth of 3000 metres being roughly estimated by Beijing's University of Petroleum at probably 200 trillion tons (200 000 billion tons), resource depletion is no problem. Yoko Ono will certainly disappear ...

Mother Jones

Mother Jones
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 03:07:43 -0700

And most of all, it includes environmental despoilment and resource depletion. "At present, we, humans, are operating worldwide on a nonsustainable economy," Diamond says. "We're exploiting resources, water, energy sources, fisheries, forests at a rate ...
 
UI The Daily Iowan
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:15:00 -0700

The problem with this conversation about sustainability is that there's no agreed-upon definition, much less any sort of consensus on how to go about addressing resource depletion, climate change, income inequality, and a whole slew of other factors ...
 
Tampabay.com
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:01:54 -0700

Twice in the last 20 years, bipartisan majorities in Congress, recognizing the alarming crisis of marine resource depletion, passed sweeping reforms to the nation's fisheries management law, the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The purpose of these changes was to ...
 
South China Morning Post
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:17:42 -0700

Perhaps one of the problems is that the climate change debate has not been linked adequately to thinking about other pressures weighing on the planet, notably resource depletion accentuated by growth in income and population. Population will continue ...
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