The natural resources include air, water, land, minerals, forest, wildlife, climate, etc.
They are the gifts of nature. The terms ‘nature’ denotes the creation that is aggregate of land, air, water, light-(sun) and sky (zero).
All the matters that are not man-made are natural resources.
The earth consists of biotic and abiotic (non-living) things.
Similarly, vegetation, human beings, animals and birds, other microorganisms are biotic (living) things.
Natural things consist of tiny particles to huge matters.
There are various cycles operating in nature.
Formation and destruction of natural elements continuously occur in a natural way.
Natural environment provide suitable environment for survival of the various living beings.
Therefore, we should protect and conserve the natural components.
Classification of natural resources
Man get various things from the natural environment.
We can get some of the resources directly from nature such as solar power, water, fruit, vegetation, etc.
However, natural oil, iron, underground water, fishes, animals and birds cannot be found directly.
It needs certain process to use them.
The natural resources can be classified into three groups. They are :
Perpetual natural resources
Renewable natural resources
Non-renewable natural resources
A) Perpetual natural resources
They are inexhaustible, limitless and permanent resources.
Solar energy is an example of it. It is continuously attained from the sun for millions of years.
Similarly, wind power, tide power, water flow are other perpetual natural resources.
The hydro-electricity can continuously be generated if we protect the water resources.
B) Renewable resources
Men use various resources. Some of the resources are non-renewable.
If they are excessively used, they will be emptied forever.
However, the renewable natural resources can be regenerated. Regeneration here, denoted the situation in which resource can be restarted or rejuvenated after use or the production is stopped when they are not completely exhausted.
For example, vegetation, fish, fresh air, fresh water, fertile soil and various other living beings can be renewed if their minimum number is remained.
We should use the natural resources wisely making them easy to renew by themselves.
Then they are not degraded for instance, land, forest, pasture can be regenerated.
The use of natural resources beyond their carrying capacity can degrade them.
Once completely destroyed natural resources cannot be regenerated.
Therefore, they should be used wisely and sustainably.
C) Non-renewable resources
The natural resources which cannot be regenerated after excessive exploitation are nonrenewable resources.
For example, natural fossil oil and other minerals like iron, copper, coal, etc. are of limited quantity in the earth.
They cannot be regenerated once they are emptied.
There are various methods to prolong the capacity of such non-renewable resources. They are:
Appropriate and minimum use
Copper, Aluminium, iron, lead, etc. can be recycled.
Importance of natural resources
Every type of natural resources like air, water, land, vegetation, animals, etc. has its own importance.
Aggregate importance of those resources is the importance of natural resources.