Human Activities and the Loss of Natural Resources
Natural resources including soil, water, forest, mineral and biodiversity have been repeatedly destroyed around the world by humans. “Since 1970, over 600,000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) of Amazon rainforest have been destroyed” (Butler, 2011). The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) estimated that “soil erosion carries away a volume of soil equivalent to one metre deep over 200,000 hectares every year in the Philippines.” In Asia, where water has always been regarded as an abundant resource, per capita availability declined by 40-60% between 1955 and 1990 (Coleridge, 2006). “In South Africa major conservation areas such as Kruger national park risked losing up to 60% of the species under their protection” (Brown, 2004). Mindful of the losses of natural resources, this essay will discuss how human activities harm the world’s natural resources in terms of the loss of soil resource, forest resource, and biodiversity.
• The loss of soil resource
Human activities have often led to the loss of soil resources, which are the basis for sustained food security. Soil occurs naturally from physical and chemical disintegration of rocks and minerals combined with fossil. Because of such a combination, soil has different properties. Nowadays human activities repeatedly destroy soil resource. For example, illegal logging degrades soil quality. It is easy for wind and water to bring fertile soil away, which eventually results to soil erosion. The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization, a branch of United Nations) estimates that “the global loss of productive land through erosion is 5-7 million ha/year.” Another example of the loss of soil resource is farmers’ lack of knowledge (ทัศนีย์ อัตตะนันทน์, 2554). These farmers will not know indeed how to prepare soil for cultivation. That is why the soil quality is damaged. WRI, UNEP, UNDP, and World Bank have found that “the degradation of soil...
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