Natural resources

Natural resources occur naturally within environment that exist relatively undisturbed by humanity, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geo-diversity existent in various ecosystems. Some of them are essential for our survival while most are used for satisfying our wants. Natural resources are materials and components that can be found within the environment. Every man-made product is composed of natural resources.

Natural resources with examples and uses

Natural resources management or Types of natural resources :

The various methods of categorizing natural resources includes source of origin, stage of development and by their renewability. These classifications are described below.

On the basis of origin, natural resources may be divided into :

  1. Biotic resources :
  2. Biotic resources are obtained from the biosphere (living and organic material), such as forests and animals, and the materials that can be obtained from them. Fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum are also included in this category because they are formed from decayed organic matter.

  3. Abiotic resources :
  4. Abiotic resources are those that come from non-living, non-organic material. Examples of abiotic resources include land, fresh water, air and heavy metals including Ores such as gold, iron, copper, silver etc.

On the basis of stage of development, natural resources may be divided into :

  1. Potential resources :
  2. Potential resources are those that exist in a region and may be used in the future for example petroleum may exist in many parts of India having sedimentary rocks but until that time it is actually drilled out and put into use it remains a potential resource.

  3. Actual resources :
  4. Actual resources are those that have been surveyed, their quantity and quality determined and are being used in present times. The development of an actual resource, such as wood processing depends upon the technology available and the cost involved.

  5. Reserve resources :
  6. The part of an actual resource which can be developed profitably in future is called reserve resource.

  7. Stock resources :
  8. Stock resources are those that have been surveyed but cannot be used by organisms due to lack of technology. For example: hydrogen.

On the basis of their renewability, natural resources may be divided into :

  1. Renewable resources :
  2. Renewable resources are the ones that can be replenished naturally some of these resources like sunlight air wind etc are continuously available and their quantity is not noticeably affected by human consumption do many renewable resources do not have such a rapid recovery rate.

  3. Non-renewable resources :
  4. Non renewable resources are resources that are limited in nature. These are likely to depleted fast, if exploited by human activity e.g. Coal, Petroleum.

Uses of natural resources :

Natural resources may exist as a separate entity such as fresh water, air as well as a living organism such as a fish, or it may exist in an alternate form which must be processed to obtain the resource such as metal ores, oil, and most forms of energy. Following are the uses of natural resources:

1. Air : Air is an important inexhaustible natural resource, it consists of a mixture of gases.

Uses of Air : Essential for the survival of human beings, animals and plants. Used to cool excess heat; used to breathe and also as a means of transport - balloons, airplanes, parachutes; essential for burning of fuel. Helps in seed dispersal, wind energy.

2. Water : Water is an essential part of all life in this world because of its multiple usage. It is used as an important constituent of food which living beings consume.

Uses of Water : It is used to irrigate crops; used to manufacture metal, plastics, etc; used to generate power in hydroelectric plants or in grain mills, used to transport ships or lumber.

3. Soil : Soil is the most precious natural resource for our survival, source of all food products because all plants grow in soil. Provides natural habitat to all organisms.

4. Trees : Fuel, building lumber, produce Oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide; prevent run-off, naturally cooling effect in cities; wind breaks, foster animal life.

5. Minerals :

5.1. Metallic : Used in industries for production of various goods viz. steel, electrical goods, building material, aircraft, ship etc.
5.2. Non-metallic : Used in production of acid, glass, ceramics, textiles etc.

6. Coals - fuel, Natural gas : Used as fuel, basis for Coke in iron making; parts of it is used to make other chemicals.

7. Sun light : Solar energy for cooking in Solar cookers, water heating by solar heaters, electricity used in calculators, satellites.

8. Domestic animals : Milk, wool, food, eggs etc.

9. Fish in sea : Food, fertilizer, oil.

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