Overexploitation is the excessive use, extraction or exploitation of a natural resource.

In the case of renewable natural resources, this excessive use occurs without the possibility of renewing said resource. In the case of non-renewable resources it inevitably leads to their depletion.

Causes of overexploitation

Overexploitation is multifactorial and they are due to decision-making, the main ones are mentioned below:

  • Increase in the birth rate and therefore of human needs to satisfy.
  • Inefficient use of natural resources.
  • Lack of development of consumer alternatives.

Consequences of overexploitation

The effects of overexploitation compromise the quality of life of people and by. The main consequences are listed below:

  • Biodiversity loss.
  • Soil erosion, reducing the possibility of agricultural use. This, consequently, will imply an increase in food prices.
  • Acceleration of climate change.
  • Reduction in the quality of life in the future.
  • Scarcity of resources, which makes them more expensive in the future. Therefore, economic imbalance in the face of the crisis of raw materials and food.
  • Increase in environmental pollution.

Alternatives to reduce overexploitation

Given the devastating consequences, it is essential to seek and propose options to mitigate it. The most prominent ones are mentioned below:

  • Need to look for consumption alternatives that substitute some natural resources as raw materials, given the reduction in their availability.
  • Urgency of efficient management of natural resources.
  • Need for responsible consumption.
  • Development of efficient regulatory policies.
  • Bet on renewable energy.
  • Promote tourism and sustainable agriculture.

Examples of overexploitation

Among the examples of overexploitation we could find the following:

  • When excessive fishing is carried out. That is, a high number of specimens is extracted, without the fish having the ability to reproduce. This happens because, in most cases, young specimens are extracted that have not had the opportunity to grow in order to reproduce. What causes to jeopardize sustainability.
  • Cutting down trees in wooded areas to obtain wood, without the ecosystem having the possibility to regenerate
  • The extraction of fuels of fossil origin, which is not renewable and therefore will lead to their depletion.

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