What Is Overharvesting? How Does It Affect The Ecosystem?

what is overharvesting?

What is overharvesting? Ecosystems are damaged by overharvesting, and many plants, animal, and other species populations have vanished as a consequence.


Farm Tractor Harvesting on Field
what is overharvesting?

What is overharvesting? Overharvesting or overutilization of a renewable resource to the point of diminishing returns is known as overexploitation. Ecologists use the term “unsustainable harvesting” to refer to populations being harvested at an unsustainable rate.

The term “ecological wealth” defines resources such as medicinal plants, forested areas, game animals, fish stocks, and water aquifers.

Overharvesting, pollution, species introduction, habitat fragmentation, and habitat destruction are serious problems for global biodiversity today due to their long-term influence on a resource.

Living things require resources to survive. It’s possible to over-fish natural resources for lengthy durations, depleting them until they can’t be renewed in short periods.

Humans had always gathered food and other resources they required to survive when human populations were tiny, and gathering methods were restricted.

Due to an ever-increasing human population, expanding markets, and an ever-growing demand partnered with improved access and trapping technology, many species are being overhunted.

Overharvesting’s Effects

Brown Carriage Wheel
what is overharvesting?

Long-term overharvesting is one of the most serious threats to species diversity. Overharvesting can result in population losses and even the extinction of entire species.

Larger leaf sizes have been recorded due to overharvesting footstool palm (a wild palm tree found in Southeast Asia whose leaves are utilized for thatching and food wrapping) due to a scarcity of available resources.

A decline in biodiversity, for example, has the potential to have a significant influence on human health since it depletes medicinal resources. Pharmaceuticals and medical devices are largely based on natural substances extracted from living organisms.

On the other hand, illegal or unsanctioned harvesting might result in overfishing, ecosystem deterioration, and species extinction. It may also infringe on the rights of local communities and governments whose resources are taken.

The Commons’ Tragedy

Overharvesting has caused the decline of numerous species, particularly aquatic ones. The “tragedy of the commons” is a situation in which no one has an incentive to keep from exploiting a shared resource, such as a fishery, because it isn’t their own.

Overharvesting natural resources is the consequence of gathering them. Even though fishing happens within a nation’s territorial waters, most fisheries are managed as common resources because overfishing is unavoidable.

Anglers have no incentive to establish harvest quotas, and technological improvements have allowed fishers to overfish as a result.

If time and money are invested elsewhere, biological resources in some fisheries may grow at a slower rate than potential fishing earnings. Economic forces will always encourage the population to go extinct (such as whales) in these situations.

Cascade Effects

Overexploitation of species might produce cascading effects, especially if a habitat loses its top predator. When a top predator is lost, the number of prey animals grows rapidly.

An overabundance of prey organisms can, in turn, lead to an overabundance of food resources, which might result in decreasing populations and perhaps extinction as a consequence of unchecked prey species overexploitation.

Eliminating Harvesting Threats

Smiling Woman at the Field
what is overharvesting?

To reduce over-harvesting, businesses of all sizes can implement “green” supply chain solutions. The process of adding an environmental perspective to existing supply chain management procedures is referred to as “greening the supply chain.”

Greening the supply chain is a good approach to combat other threats to biodiversity, such as habitat loss and pollution.

The following are examples of environmentally-friendly actions that a firm’s transactions with its various suppliers might include, but not be limited to:

  • For all vendors, improving the level playing field in terms of environmental protection.
  • Developing metrics and scorecards for suppliers to track and assess their performance over time.
  • To guarantee that suppliers have put in place environmental impact-reduction procedures, a supplier audit program should be implemented.
  • The goal of environmental management is to reduce the negative effects of corporate activities on the environment.
  • Looking for a cleaner, more sustainable choices.
  • Working with government agencies, industry associations, and non-governmental organizations to discover new methods for reducing environmental impact (NGOs).

Dell Computer has shown that greening the supply chain is a successful conservation technique. To develop fresh ideas for improvement, Dell holds supplier-innovation summits throughout the supply chain.

For example, a supplier-innovation summit inspired the notion that toxic paints may be eliminated from some computers and replaced with a far safer film covering.

In some cases, a supplier for Dell came up with the idea of mixing grass and wood pulp to produce certain corrugate boxes. In contrast to trees, straw grass is a more readily accessible energy source.

Straw grass is burned as a farming by-product in China. Rather than being incinerated, Straw grass may be fashioned into corrugated boxes. As a result of this concept, Dell now employs a 30% straw grass and wood content in certain of its boxes.

As a result of Dell’s innovation initiative, supply-chain expenditures have decreased by about $100 million each year since 2012.

Dell isn’t the only one. In 2013, Walmart claimed that its supply-chain sustainability efforts saved the firm $150 million in a single year.

GM was able to save $12 million in disposal expenses while also reducing its environmental effect by utilizing reusable containers with its suppliers.

Texas Instruments saves $8 million a year in supply chain management tactics by reducing raw materials and reusing packaging.

A green supply chain may substantially impact a company’s bottom line, driving innovation in new goods and processes while also improving its public image.

Overharvesting can be addressed in various ways, including via greening supply chains. Some firms are employing technology to prevent the poaching of endangered species of animals.

This tactic may be used in the future to safeguard other at-risk species across the world. The system’s $1.5 million annual running costs are a major barrier to wider usage.

It’s becoming more and more frequent for businesses to utilize their goods and technologies to develop countermeasures in the fight against overharvesting.

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