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Natural Resource Conservation: Management for a Sustainable Future (9th Edition)

Natural Resource Conservation: Management for a Sustainable Future (9th Edition)

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Natural Resource Conservation is written for the introductory resource conservation course. It is designed to provide comprehensive coverage of a variety of local, regional, national, and global resource and environmental issues from population growth to wetlands to sustainable agriculture to global air pollution. The first edition of this book was published in 1971, a year after the first Earth Day, by our esteemed colleague, the late Oliver S. Owen. To many observers, Earth Day marked the formal beginning of the environmental movement in the United States. Since that time, impressive gains have been made in air and water pollution control, species protection, forest management, and rangeland management. Despite this progress, many environmental problems still remain. Many others have grown worse. In 1970, for instance, the world population hovered around 3 billion. Today, it has exceeded the 6.4 billion mark and is growing by more than 80 million people a year. Hunger and starvation have become a way of life in many less developed nations. An estimated 12 million people die each year of starvation and disease worsened by hunger and malnutrition. Species extinction continues as well. Today, an estimated 100 species become extinct every day. In the United States and abroad, soil erosion and rangeland deterioration continue. Added to the list of growing problems are a whole host of new ones. Groundwater pollution, ozone depletion, acid deposition, global warming, and growing mountains of urban trash top this list. Yet, along with the new problems are new and exciting solutions. If we work together in solving these problems, there is much hope. However, many experts believe that addressing these problems in meaningful ways will require dramatic changes in the way we live our lives and conduct commerce. We need a way that is sustainable a way of doing business and living on the planet that does not bankrupt the Earth. Most people call this sustainable development. Sustainable development is about creating a new relationship with the Earth. It is about creating a sustainable economy and a sustainable system of commerce. It is about creating sustainable communities and sustainable lifestyles. It requires new ways of managing resources using the best available scientific knowledge and understandings of complex systems and how they are maintained, even enhanced, over time. It will entail changes in virtually every aspect of our society, from farming to forest management to energy production. We believe that establishing a sustainable relationship with the Earth will require us to use resources more frugally using only what we need and using all resources much more efficiently than we do today. Creating a sustainable way of life will very likely mean a massive expansion of our recycling efforts, not just getting recyclables to markets, but encouraging manufacturers to use secondary materials for production and encouraging citizens to buy products made from recycled materials. Creating a sustainable society will also very likely mean a shift to clean, economical, renewable energy supplies, such as solar and wind energy. Another vital component of a sustainable society is restoration replanting forests, grasslands, and wetlands to ensure an adequate supply of resources for future generations as well as for the many species that share this planet with us. Essential to the success of our efforts to create a sustainable society are efforts to slow down, even stop, world population growth. But that means stopping population growth in all nations, not just the poorer, less developed nations. Population growth in the rich nations, combined with our resource-intensive lifestyles, is contributing as much to the current global crisis as population growth in the less developed nations. Curtailing population growth also entails efforts to better manage how we spread out on the land that is, how and where our cities and towns expand. By adhering to judicious growth measures we can preserve farmland, forests, pastures, wildlands, and fisheries all essential to our future and often crucial to the well-being of the countless species that share this planet with us. In this book, we present the case for building a sustainable future based on conservation, recycling, renewable resources, restoration, and population control. We dub these the operating principles of a sustainable society. We believe that by putting these principles into practice in all sectors of our society, from agriculture to industry to transportation, we can build an enduring relationship with the planet. The operating principles, however, must be complemented by a change in attitudes. No longer can we afford to regard the Earth as an infinite source of materials meant exclusively for human use. Many of the Earth's resources, upon which human beings depend, are finite. The Earth offers a limited supply