Depletion or destruction of a potentially renewable resource such as soil, grassland, forest, or wildlife that is used faster than it is naturally replenished. If such use continues, the resource becomes nonrenewable (on a human time scale) or nonexistent (extinct). See also sustainable yield.
The diminishment of an ecosystem or a biosphere due to human activity. Environmental degradation occurs when natural resources (such as trees, habitat, earth, water, air) are consumed faster than they can be replenished. Sustainability requires that human activity, at a minimum, only uses nature's resources to the point where they can be replenished naturally.