Natural Resources And Its Conservation Pdf

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3. Protecting, conserving and enhancing natural capital

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The term 'capital' is generally used by economists to describe a stock of anything that has the capacity to generate a flow normally of goods and services that benefits — and is valued by — people. The emergence of the concept of natural capital in recent decades reflects the recognition that environmental systems play a fundamental role in determining economic output and human well-being — providing resources and services, and absorbing emissions and wastes.

Natural capital is the most fundamental of the core forms of capital i. These conditions include fertile soil, multifunctional forests, productive land and seas, good quality freshwater and clean air. They also include services such as pollination, climate regulation and protection from natural disasters EU, Natural capital sets the ecological limits for our socio-economic systems; it is both limited and vulnerable.

The 'flow' provided by natural capital comes in the form of ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are the contributions that ecosystems make to human well-being Figure 3.

The main categories are provisioning services e. These three types of services are underpinned by supporting services e. The complexity of natural systems and irreversibility of some environmental change mean that replacing natural capital with other forms of capital is often impossible a phenomenon known as non-substitutability or carries significant risks.

The risks and costs from continued degradation of ecosystems and their services have not yet been properly integrated in our economic systems, social systems, and decision-making.

The state and prospects of natural capital provide an indication of the environmental sustainability of our economy and society. While Europe has undoubtedly made progress in preserving and enhancing its semi-natural systems in certain areas, continued overall loss of natural capital is jeopardising efforts to attain biodiversity and climate objectives EU, Most of the pressures on Europe's natural capital are fundamentally based in the socio-economic systems of production and consumption that provide for our material well-being.

Economic and demographic projections suggest that these pressures are likely to grow. Applying the concept of capital to nature raises some difficulties. These include concerns about the growing commodification of the world and a lack of recognition of the intrinsic importance of biodiversity and of a clean, healthy environment.

In this context it is important to emphasise that natural capital is not the same as nature; natural capital is the basis of production in the human economy and the provider of ecosystem services. Therefore any socio-economic valuation of Europe's natural capital, while an important tool to integrate monetary values into economic systems and related policies, should go hand-in-hand with recognition that economic valuation will not fully include the intrinsic value of nature or the cultural and spiritual services that it provides.

Assessing trends in natural capital is a comprehensive undertaking, and SOER highlighted the need for dedicated management of natural capital as a means of integrating environmental priorities and the many sectoral interests that depend upon them.

This chapter focuses on ecosystems, and complements the focus on the resources component of natural capital in Chapter 4. The sections within this chapter attempt to assess ecosystem capital by addressing three dimensions:. The European Union and its Member States — as well as many neighbouring countries in Europe — have introduced a substantial amount of legislation to protect, conserve and enhance ecosystems and their services Table 3.

A wide range of European policies affect and benefit from natural capital. These include the Common Agricultural Policy, Common Fisheries Policy, cohesion policy, and rural development policies. The ultimate objective of these policies may not be protection of natural capital. Nevertheless, legislation to tackle climate change, chemicals, industrial emissions and waste helps to ease the pressures on soil, ecosystems, species, and habitats as well as reducing nutrient releases EU, In addition, several EU policies affect several of the above topics — examples include:.

More recently, EU policies such as the 7th Environment Action Programme and the Biodiversity Strategy to EC, b; EU, have shifted towards a more systemic perspective on the issue, explicitly addressing natural capital. A priority objective of the 7th Environment Action Programme is 'to protect, conserve and enhance the Union's natural capital', and this objective is set in the context of a longer-term vision that 'by we live well, within the planet's ecological limits… natural resources are managed sustainably, and biodiversity is protected, valued and restored in ways that enhance society's resilience'.

Resilience refers to the ability to adapt to or tolerate disturbance without collapsing into a qualitatively different state. Enhancing society's resilience will only be possible by maintaining and enhancing ecosystem resilience because social, economic and ecological sustainability are interdependent.

When we undermine ecosystem resilience, we reduce nature's capacity to provide essential services, putting growing pressure on individuals and society.

Conversely ecological sustainability depends on social factors and decisions to protect the environment. The complex nature of ecosystem degradation multiple causes, pathways and effects that are difficult to disentangle leads to challenges in translating the concept of ecological resilience into policy.

Policy initiatives have sought to overcome these challenges by using concepts such as 'good ecological status' and 'good environmental status' for water bodies, or 'favourable conservation status' for habitats and species. However, the relationship between ecosystem resilience, decreasing environmental pressures, and improvements in resource efficiency is often ill-defined.

There are weaker links between resilience and policy measures and targets than between resource efficiency and policy measures and targets. Biodiversity is the variety of life and includes all living organisms found in the atmosphere, on land and in water.

It encompasses diversity within and among species, habitats and ecosystems. Biodiversity underpins ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services. Despite these benefits and despite biodiversity's importance for humans, biodiversity continues to be lost, mainly due to pressures caused by human activities. Changes in natural and semi-natural habitats — including loss, fragmentation and degradation — impose considerable negative impacts through urban sprawl, agricultural intensification, land abandonment, and intensively managed forests.

Overexploitation of natural resources — in particular fisheries — remains a large problem. The accelerated establishment and spread of invasive alien species is not only an important driver of biodiversity loss, it also causes considerable economic damage EEA, g, d.

The increasing impacts from climate change are already affecting species and habitats, exacerbating other threats.

These impacts are projected to become progressively more significant in the coming decades EEA, a. Encouragingly, some pollution pressures such as emissions of sulphur dioxide SO 2 have decreased; but others, such as atmospheric nitrogen deposition, remain a problem EEA, a.

In , it was clear that neither the global nor the European target of halting biodiversity loss had been met, despite important progress in nature conservation measures in Europe.

This progress included the expansion of the Natura network of protected areas and the recovery of some wildlife species e. In , the European Commission adopted the Biodiversity Strategy to with the headline target of 'halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by , and restoring them in so far as is feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss'.

This goal is complemented by six targets aimed at conserving and restoring nature, maintaining and enhancing ecosystems and their services, addressing specific drivers of biodiversity loss agriculture, forestry, fisheries, invasive alien species , and averting global biodiversity loss.

Much is still unknown about the complete status and trends of European biodiversity and how these relate to the functioning of ecosystems and the long-term delivery of ecosystem services.

Nonetheless, available information on protected species and habitats gives rise to concern. The breakdown by ecosystem type shows that for both species and habitats the overall percentage in favourable condition is higher in terrestrial ecosystems than in freshwater and marine ecosystems.

As there have been methodological changes from the previous reporting period, it is not possible to say whether this represents a deterioration in condition or reflects the improvements in the knowledge base. In addition, even with greater societal responses to biodiversity loss, positive actions can take time to have an impact on the status of biodiversity. Conserving and managing these and other nationally-designated areas and enhancing their coherence through developing green infrastructure, such as wildlife corridors is a critical step to protect Europe's biodiversity.

Achieving a significant and measurable improvement in the status of species and habitats will require the full and effective implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy to and of EU nature legislation. It will also require policy coherence between relevant sectoral and regional policies e. Consequently, the fate of European biodiversity and the ecosystem services it underpins is closely intertwined with policy developments in these areas.

In addressing biodiversity, Europe must also look beyond its own borders. High per-capita consumption is ultimately an underlying cause for many of the drivers causing biodiversity loss; and in today's increasingly globalised economy, international trade chains accelerate habitat degradation far away from the place of consumption. Consequently, European efforts to halt biodiversity loss should ensure that pressures are not transferred to other parts of the world thereby exacerbating global biodiversity loss.

Land use is a major factor influencing the distribution and functioning of ecosystems and thus the delivery of ecosystem services. The degradation, fragmentation and unsustainable use of land is jeopardising the provision of several key ecosystem services, threatening biodiversity, and increasing Europe's vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters.

It is also exacerbating soil degradation and desertification. Soil contamination and soil sealing are also persistent problems EU, Urbanisation is the dominant trend in European land-use change, and in combination with land abandonment and intensification of agricultural production this is leading to a decline in the area of natural and semi-natural habitats. In place of these natural and semi-natural habitats come commercial, industrial, mining, or construction sites, a change referred to as land take.

Urbanisation also means that those natural and semi-natural habitats that remain are increasingly fragmented by built-up areas and transport infrastructure. This also affects the ability of ecosystems to provide services, and to provide viable habitats for species EU, see also Section 4. As these land-cover types are substituted to varying degrees by impervious cover, this affects the provision of important services provided by soils, such as the storing, filtering, and transforming of substances such as nutrients, contaminants, and water.

Land take is a long-term change, which is difficult or costly to reverse. It is now becoming evident that there are complex trade-offs between land-use patterns, the environmental pressures generated by that land use, and social and economic needs Map 3.

There has been a variety of commitments on land use at both international and national level. EU policy also calls for targets to be set for sustainable use of land and soil EU, The European Commission is currently preparing a communication on land as a resource. It has indicated that its aim is to unify these commitments on land use and spatial planning into a coherent policy that takes into account the respective competencies of the European Union and its Member States. In order to avoid increases in land take, incentives for land recycling and compact urban development may be worth pursuing.

Adopting a landscape perspective and green infrastructure approaches which embrace an area's physical characteristics and the ecosystem services it provides is a useful way to foster integration between different policy areas. This can also help address fragmentation and manage trade-offs. The policy areas of agriculture and spatial planning are especially suited to integration of this sort, as there are strong interactions between agricultural land-use and European and global environmental processes.

The main aim of European and national water policy is to ensure that throughout Europe, a sufficient quantity of good-quality water is available for people's needs and for the environment. In , the Water Framework Directive established a framework for the management, protection and improvement of the quality of water resources across the EU. Its main objective is that all surface water and groundwater should hold good status by unless there are grounds for exemption. Achieving good status means meeting certain standards for the ecology, chemistry, morphology and quantity of waters.

Water quantity and quality are closely linked. In , the 'Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources' stressed that a key element of meeting the standard of good status is ensuring that there is no over-exploitation of water resources EC, b. The plans covered the period —, with the second set of River Basin Management Plans covering the period — due for finalisation in Over the last few years, European countries that are not EU Member States have developed similar river basin activities to those introduced by the Water Framework Directive Box 3.

In these countries outside the EU, a large proportion of waters are affected by similar pressures as those identified by the EU River Basin Management Plans. Many of the West Balkan river basins are heavily affected by hydromorphological alterations and pollution from municipal, industrial, and agrochemical sources.

Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council (CNRAC)

To be the foremost source of quality advice to DCNR on sustaining the natural environment for all Pennsylvanians to enjoy and appreciate. Natural Resources, Cornell University; J. Joanne C. Kilgour -- Lancaster, PA; B. Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon University; J. Silas Chamberlin, Ph. History, Temple University; M.

The studies carried out under these projects are indicative of the efforts that the Amazonian countries are making to deal with one of the greatest challenges of our time: sustainable development of the Amazon region. The studies show the advantages of treating regional development by means of border integration projects in order to generate and spread the basic elements of the region's potential for future development. They also emphasize the importance of starting the process in areas that are representative of both the potential and the limitations of Amazonia. Sustainable use of resources necessarily includes the rational use of forest resources, to provide solutions for the local people who make their living by tapping and processing these resources. A project for multiple use of forests, for example, directed towards the identification, quantification, and development of individual species. In addition to protection, such a project can provide a number of non - wood forest products that have commercial value as food, animal feed, medicines, etc.

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources IUCN's mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. From a sample of national energy frameworks from countries, nearly one-third of the frameworks include gender considerations to some extent. Of those that include gender keywords, context analysis reveals that women are characterized as potential stakeholders or beneficiaries, but seldom as agents of change. These guidelines present, through each of the three different phases of ROAM, specific actions for identifying gender considerations and developing a gender-responsive approach and outcomes for FLR initiatives. A checklist of the Gender Golden Procedures stemming from these guidelines is available in Appendix I. Connecting countries to climate technology solutions. Toggle navigation.

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Do something for our planet, print this page only if needed. Even a small action can make an enormous difference when millions of people do it! Skip to content. Skip to navigation. If you have forgotten your password, we can send you a new one.

This book presents valuable and recent lessons learned regarding the links between natural resources management, from a Socio-Ecological perspective, and the biodiversity conservation in Mexico. It address the political and social aspects, as well as the biological and ecological factors, involved in natural resources management and their impacts on biodiversity conservation. It is a useful resource for researchers and professionals around the globe, but especially those in Latin American countries, which are grappling with the same Bio-Cultural heritage conservation issues.

Recent Case Studies

Natural resources are those that the planet offers without the need for human intervention. They are essential our survival, but if they are consumed at a faster rate than their natural regeneration, as is currently the case, they can be exhausted. Then, we review the consequences and possible solutions to this problem. Human beings are depleting the planet's natural resources. There are two types of natural resources: renewable and non-renewable. The former are inexhaustible, like solar radiation, or their renewal is relatively rapid, as is the case with biomass.

Thank you for visiting nature. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer. In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript. IN the United States, strenuous efforts are being made by the Government, through its Forest Service, National Park Service, Soil Conservation Service, Tennessee Valley Authority and other agencies to remedy the disastrous effects of years of neglect and exploitation. Many voluntary organizations cooperate. Reprints and Permissions.

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