Evaluating impact on the use on renewable resources

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Does the option affect the use of renewable resources (freshwater, fish) more quickly than they can regenerate?[1]


For renewable resources, a sustainable use has to be ensured. Therefore a main principle of sustainability is to limit the use of renewable resources to the extent of their regeneration rate and to respect the carrying capacity of eco-systems. Analyses does therefore need to focus on the flows of available energy/matter, particularly from primary producers (green plants and other photosynthesizers) to sequential levels of consumer organisms in ecosystems (specifically, humans and their economies) and on the return flows of degraded energy and material (wastes) back to the ecosystem. Using this approach it can be shown that humankind, through the industrial economy, has become the dominant consumer in most of the Earth's major ecosystems. 40% of the net product of terrestrial photosynthesis was consumed by humankind already in 1986 and in 1995 it could e.g. be stated that 25-35% of coastal shelf primary production was taken out of its natural ecological cycle, while at the same time global waste production was and is still continuously rising at high speed.[1]

A fundamental question for ecological economics, therefore, is whether the physical output of remaining species populations, ecosystems, and related biophysical processes and the waste assimilation capacity of the ecosphere, are adequate to sustain the anticipated load of the human economy into the next century, while simultaneously maintaining the general life support functions of the ecosphere.[1]



The following Eurostat Structural Indicators are relevant to address the key question:

The following Eurostat Sustainable Development Indicators are relevant to address the key question:

Additional Links:

European Environment Agency Indicators

EEA Water Indicators

covers inter alia

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 JRC: IA TOOLS. Supporting inpact assessment in the European Commission. [1]

This text is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace any reference documents.