Anything in the environment which can be used is called a Natural Resource.
Natural Resources include a totally natural environment that supports human life and contributes to the production of necessities and comforts for mankind. So natural resources are the components of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere.
Types of Natural Resources: On the basis of abundance and availability, natural resources are of two types:
These are in plenty and cannot be exhausted by man’s consumption. For example; air, sand, clay etc.It gets affected by the overpopulation of mankind.
These are limited and can get exhausted over a period of time, i.e., coal, petroleum, etc.
Management of Natural Resources:
A system of controlling the use of natural resources in such a way, as to avoid their wastage and to use them in most of Why do we Need to Manage Our Natural Resources: We need to manage our natural resources because of the following reasons :
- The resources of the earth are limited. Because of the rapid increase in human population, the demand for resources is increasing day by day. The proper management can ensure that the natural resources are used judiciously so that they fulfill the needs of the present generation and also last for the generations to come
- The proper management of natural resources takes into consideration long-term perspective (or view) and prevents their exploitation to the hilt for short-term gains.
- Proper management can ensure equitable distribution of natural resources so that all the people can benefit from the development of these resources.
- The proper management will take into consideration the damage caused to the environment during the ‘extraction’ or ‘use’ of the natural resources and find ways and means to minimize this damage.
Conservation of Wildlife:
- Laws should be made to impose a total ban on the poaching (killing) or capturing of any animal or bird belonging to an endangered species.
- The natural habitats of wild animals and birds should be preserved by establishing National Parks and Sanctuaries throughout the country.
- The Government Department connected with the conservation of wildlife should conduct a periodic survey in all the forests, National parks, and Sanctuaries to have knowledge of the population of all species of wild animals and birds.
- Special attention should be paid to the conservation of endangered species of wild animals and birds to prevent their extinction altogether.
- The unauthorized felling (cutting) of forest trees for timber trade and fuel wood should be curbed (stopped) immediately.
- The people who live in or around forests are dependent on forest products for various aspects of their life.
- The Forest Department of Government which owns the land and controls the resources from forests.
- The industrialists—from those who use ‘tendu’ leaves to make bidis to the ones with papermills who use various forest produce.
- The wildlife and nature enthusiasts who want to conserve nature in its pristine form.
- A major program called silviculture has been started to replenish the forests by growing more trees and plants.
Conservation of forests:
- Afforestation: It is the growth of forests on unprotected barren lands. Van Mahotsava is a tree plantation movement carried out twice a year (February and July) by both government and voluntary agencies.
- Reforestation: It is developing forest cover in the area which has been damaged or cleared during exploitation.
- Separation of Commercial Forestry: Useful plants required by industry should be planted separately preferably on wasteland. Growing industry-required plants is called production plantation.
- Grazing: Grazing should be regulated according to the availability of pasturage.
- Deforestation: Removal, decrease or deterioration of forest cover of an area is called deforestation.
Effects of Deforestation
- Soil Erosion: Removal of plant cover exposes the fertile soil to wind and water. The latter removes the topsoil and makes the area infertile.
- Desertification: Removal of forest cover in the plains makes the area dry. In the hot season, the soil becomes loose. Air currents take away the fine soil particles leaving behind the sand.
- Floods: In the rainy season many temporary rivulets are formed due to loss of absorption capacity by unprotected soil. The rivulets produce floods in low land causing loss of agriculture, property, and life.
- Destruction of wildlife: Deforestation leads to the destruction of natural habitats of wild animals and plants. Wildlife is, therefore, destroyed.
- Climatic Changes: In the absence of forest cover, the summer becomes hotter while the winters become extra cool. The frequency of rainfall decreases.
National Award for Wildlife Conservation:
Water as a Resource
- Water is a basic necessity for all terrestrial forms of life. Regions of water scarcity are closely related to the regions of acute poverty.
- Failure to sustain water availability has resulted in loss of vegetation cover, diversion for high water-demanding crops and pollution from industries and, urban wastes and less rain.
- Irrigation methods like dams, tanks should be used in various part of India.
Advantages of Dams
- Water from a dam is used for irrigation in fields through a network of canals. Dams ensure round the year water supply to the crop fields and help raise agricultural production.
- Water from a dam is supplied to the people in towns and cities through pipelines after suitable treatment. In this way, the construction of dams ensures continuous water supply in the region.
- he falling water (or flowing water) from the dam is used for generating electricity. The water rushing down the dam turns turbines which run electric generators.
Disadvantages of Dams
- Social Problems: Due to the construction of high-rise dams, a large number of human settlements (or villages) are submerged in the water of large reservoir formed by the dam and many people are rendered homeless. This creates a social problem.
- Environmental Problems: The construction of high-rise dams on the rivers contributes to deforestation and loss of biodiversity. This is because a vast variety of flora and fauna (plants and animals) get submerged in the water of large reservoir formed by the dam and disturb the ecological balance.
- Economic Problems: Some people say that the construction of high-rise dams involves the spending of a huge amount of public money without the generation of proportionate benefits.
Coal and Petroleum Conservation:
- Coal: Coal is combustible fossilized rock derived from a large accumulation of plant remains that is gradually compressed. Coal is used for cooking, heating, in industry and thermal power plants.
- Petroleum: Petroleum is another fossil fuel that occurs in the form of liquid oil. It has been formed in the past (about 10 to 20 crore years old) from plant and animal remains and occur in the form of mineral oil in sedimentary rocks. Petroleum is mainly used as fuel for transport, agricultural operations, generators, and some industries.
Methods of Conservation of Fossil Fuels
- burning of coal causes air pollution. Thus direct use of coal for the purpose or burning should be avoided. Coal may be converted into liquid fuel and compressed natural gas (CNG) through coal gasification.
- Techniques should be developed to recover maximum fossil fuel that lies in deep mines and wells. Wastage during extraction and transportation should be avoided.
- Both oil wells and coal mines are prone to catch fire. Therefore, these should be well protected from fire to avoid wastage pollution and loss of life and property.
- Over-consumption of oil in automobiles should be checked. We must save oil for future use because only a few years are left for its depletion.
- Alternative sources of energy, such as hydroelectric, nuclear, solar, wind power and biogas plants should be encouraged.
Steps for Conservation of Energy Resources:
- Save electricity, water, etc. by not using when not required.
- Use energy-efficient electrical appliances to save electricity.
- Use a pressure cooker for cooking food.
- Use solar cookers.
- Encourage the use of biogas as domestic fuel.
- The fuel-efficient motor vehicle should be designed to reduce the consumption of petrol and diesel.