America's Renewable Resources: Historical Trends and Current Challenges

By Kenneth D. Frederick; Roger A. Sedjo | Go to book overview

2
Water Resources: Increasing Demand and Scarce Supplies

Kenneth D. Frederick

Water is one of the most readily renewable of the earth's natural resources. Globally, the total quantity of water is essentially constant and is unaffected by human activities; water can be used and reused virtually indefinitely. Evaporation removes the impurities in water picked up from natural and human sources. On the other hand, water is one of the least predictable resources. The hydrologic cycle continuously circulates water from lakes, streams, and oceans through evaporation and from plants through transpiration to the atmosphere, from where it eventually precipitates back to the earth. Water is commonly characterized as a fugitive resource because it naturally flows from one location and one state (liquid, gas, or solid) to another. These characteristics present challenges in managing, controlling, and allocating the resource.

Water also is a vital and versatile resource. It is essential to all life, and a secure supply is required for successful economic activity. Drinking remains the most critical use for human life, but much larger quantities are used for economic and recreational

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America's Renewable Resources: Historical Trends and Current Challenges
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Esources for the Future v
  • Contents vii
  • Tables x
  • Figures xi
  • Preface xiii
  • 1: Overview: Renewable Resource Trends 1
  • References 21
  • 2: Water Resources: Increasing Demand and Scarce Supplies 23
  • Notes 71
  • Appendix 2 72
  • References 75
  • 3: Forest Resources: Resilient and Serviceable 81
  • Notes 115
  • Appendix 116
  • References 118
  • 4: Rangeland Resources: Changing Uses and Productivity 123
  • Notes 161
  • Appendix 4 162
  • References 163
  • 5: Cropland and Soils: Past Performance and Policy Challenges 169
  • References 203
  • 6: Wildlife: Severe Decline and Partial Recovery 205
  • Notes 241
  • Appendix 6 242
  • References 245
  • 7: The Growing Role of Outdoor Recreation 249
  • Notes 279
  • Appendix 280
  • References 281
  • About the Authors 283
  • Photo Credits 284
  • Index 285
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