God’s people are required to take care of the natural world.
If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young. You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life (Deut 22:6-7).It is permissible to take a young bird or eggs for food, but the mother must be protected. This ensures that breeding and hatching will continue.
This principle can be generalised. God gave humans dominion over the earth. That does not mean that we are able to exploit it as we choose. We can use the product of the earth, including birds, animals and fruit. But we must ensure that enough breeding stock remains to preserve each specifies for future generations.
This passage is future looking. When consume the product of the earth we must think about the future. We tend to think only about our current generation. For example, if oil is discovered, we assume that it can all be used by our generation. That is not the way that God wants us to think. He wants us to think about those who will follow us.
My father fulfilled his dream of being a farmer when he bought a farm that had been cropped so excessively that the soil was depleted. He taught us that a farmer should aim to leave the land better than it was when he found it. That is good practice.
There are no direct penalties for failing to obey this command. However, there is a warning that if it is ignored, life on the land will not go well.
Conservation of nature is not a new idea. It is in the Torah that God gave to Moses.