Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - 28

U n i t i Introduction

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

28

FIguRE 3-2 a commercial

fishing boat hauls in a net
brimming with fish destined
for U.S. tables.

bison, or buffalo, were killed for their hides and meat, and this great American
natural resource neared extinction. Yet, with techniques of game management
such as those discussed in Chapter 25, their numbers rebounded. Fish populations, too, respond readily to fishery management techniques (Figure 3-2). For
more on this topic, see Chapters 26 and 27. At the same time, mismanagement
and over fishing can easily lead to population collapses or even extinction of some
species.

Exhaustible Resources
Many of our natural resources exist in fixed quantities. Those limited resources that
cannot be replaced or reproduced are known as nonrenewable or exhaustible. We
cannot manage exhaustible resources for renewal. They do not renew themselves,
and we cannot renew them. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. We can
conserve our exhaustible resources. We can learn how to use less. We may try to
find more of the resources. We may even be able to recycle some of them. But once
a given resource is gone, we simply have to do without it or find a replacement.
Even though an exhaustible resource exists in a finite (limited) supply, that
does not mean it is necessarily a limited resource. Many exhaustible resources
exist in such huge amounts that for all practical purposes, they are nonexhaustible. For instance, there is so much coal on the planet that, although it is
exhaustible, there is no practical limit to coal. There is so much iron ore that,
although iron is an exhaustible resource, there is no practical limit to the metal.
One vital exhaustible resource is the crude oil that is used to produce petroleum products. We constantly hear of the "energy crisis." There is only so much
oil in the ground, and when we have removed all we can find, it is gone. We will
just have to develop other sources of energy. As you will see in Chapter 32, we
can use newer technologies to find more oil. We can find new ways to extract limited resources so the effective amount available for use can be greatly increased.
Nevertheless, even with improved technologies, like hydraulic fracturing (fracking), limited resources such as oil and gas will eventually run out if we continue
to use them without limit. Fracking involves the injection of liquid under high
pressure into rock layers deep underground to aid in the extraction of oil and gas.
For a more detailed discussion of fracking, see Chapter 32.
Another example is our mineral resources. We use lead, cobalt, zinc, and
other minerals to make our goods. We depend on these mineral resources for our
way of life. We must manage those resources to make them last as long as possible.
Soil can also fit into this category. Chapter 4 explains that soil is constantly
being formed by nature. We can improve existing soil, make it more fertile, move
water to it, and supply missing minerals. We can even make soil substitutes in
small quantities, but we cannot really make soil in any practical sense. Only
nature does that. Why, then, is soil not a nonexhaustible resource? It is exhaustible because nature makes soil so slowly. True, a soil destroyed by improper use
will probably be replaced-in 500,000 years. As far as we are concerned, that
is not renewal in a sense that is useful to us. Thus, soil is a nonrenewable or
exhaustible resource.

An ECOLOGiCAL OUtLOOK
Humans, trees, water, animals, fish, grasses, sunlight-all these and more fit into
an overall environment. This system, with all its interactions and interdependencies, is our ecosystem.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp

Contents
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - Cover1
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - Cover2
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - i
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - ii
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - iii
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - iv
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - v
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - Contents
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - vii
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - viii
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