Geography Chapter 1: Resources and Development


Substances available in our environment that can be used for specific purposes and are technologically accessible, economically viable and culturally acceptable are referred to as resources.


Fig 1. Classification of Resoures

Classification of Resources

Resources can be classified on the basis of

Origin: Biotic and abiotic

Exhaustibility: Renewable and non-renewable

Ownership: Individual, community-owned, national and international

 Status of Development: Potential developed and stock

Fig 2. Biotic resources

Fig 3. Abiotic and renewable resources

Non-renewable Resources:

Cannot be reproduced or replenished. They take millions of years to form. E.g. Metals, fossils fuels, minerals etc.

  • Coal
  • Petrol

Individual Resources

 Privately owned by individuals

 E.g. Individual ownership of land in the form of houses and agricultural fields

Community-Owned Resources

 Accessible to all members of a community

 E.g. Village ponds, public parks, burial grounds etc.

National Resources

 Those resources that exist within the territory of a nation.

 All minerals, water bodies, forests, wildlife etc. within the country and within 12 nautical miles from the sea coast are called national resources.

International Resources

 Those oceanic resources that do not lie within the Exclusive Economic Zone of any nation.

 They are managed by international institutions and each country has an equal right to access these resources.

Potential Resources

 Though they are in existence, they are not being completely utilized.

 E.g. Potential of wind and solar energy in Rajasthan

Developed Resources

 Those resources that have been surveyed and are ready for utilization.


 Resources that exist but have not been utilized owing to lack of technical expertise.

 E.g. Making hydrogen and oxygen from water


They are those resources for whose utilization man has the technical know-how but has not started using them.

 E.g. Use of river water for generating electricity

Problems Related to Resources

 Depletion of resources due to over-utilization.

 Accumulation in few hands.

 Indiscriminate exploitation of resources resulting in ecological imbalances.

Sustainable Development

It refers to that development which is lasting enough to be used by the future generations. Development should be such that it does not compromise with the needs of the coming generations.

Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, 1992

 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)

 Held at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

 First ever International Earth Summit.

 Aimed at addressing the problem of environmental degradation and finding ways of protecting the environment.

 The declaration on global climatic change and biodiversity was signed.

 The Global Forest Principles were adopted.

AGENDA 21 was formulated.

 Aims at achieving global sustainable development.

 For combating environmental damage, poverty and diseases through global cooperation.

 Every country is supposed to formulate its own Agenda 21.

Resource Planning

 It is necessary for making maximum utilization of the available resources.

 It involves

 Identification of resources through surveys, mapping and measurement.

 Evolving a structure for utilizing resources by means of appropriate technology and skills.

 Synchronizing the resource development plans with the national development goals.

 Resource planning in India is done through the Five Year Plans.

Conservation of Resources

 Resources need to be conserved as they are vital for development.

 Over-utilization and irrational consumption of resources creates ecological imbalance.

 Brundtland Commission Report of 1987 introduced the concept of ‘Sustainable Development’ that focused on the conservation of resources for the future.

Land Resources

 Land is the basic natural resource on which all other resources exist.

 India’s total land area: 3.28 million sq. km.

Fig 4  India’s total land

Uses of Land

  • Forests                                                
  • Net sown area
  • Pastures                                              
  • Housing
  • Roads                                                 
  • Barren and waste land
  • Culturable waste land                        
  • Fallow land
  • Area under miscellaneous trees, crops and groves

National Forest Policy (1932) envisages 33% of the land area under forests in India. However, it is only 22%.

Land Degradation

  • Causes                                                         
  • Deforestation
  • Over-grazing                                               
  • Mining and quarrying
  • Over-irrigation                                            
  • Mineral processing
  • Industrial effluents

 Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa are the states where deforestation, owing to mining activities, has resulted in the degradation of land.

 In Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra, the main cause of land degradation is over-grazing.

Methods for Stopping Land Degradation              

  • Afforestation
  • Proper management of grazing                               
  • Stabilization of sand dunes
  • Control of mining activities                                    
  • Proper discharge of industrial effluents


 Soil is a renewable natural resource.

 It takes millions of years to form.

 It is formed by the action of temperature, running water, wind and glaciers.

Soil Erosion

The washing away of the top layer of soil by the action of wind and water is called soil erosion.

 Soil formation and soil erosion are simultaneous processes and a balance exists between the two.

 Activities such as

 Deforestation

 Over-grazing

 Mining

 Construction

Increase the rate of soil erosion and disturb the natural balance.

 Gully Erosion and Badlands

 Deep channels called gullies are formed when fast running water cuts through the soft clayey soil making deep ravines.

 This type of land becomes unfit for cultivation and is called badland.

 E.g. Chambal basin in Madhya Pradesh

 Sheet Erosion: It is caused when water flows as a sheet down a slope and washes-off the top layer of soil. Winds can also blow-off the top layer of soil.

Methods of Soil Conservation

 Ploughing along the contour lines of slopes

 Terrace farming

 Planting strips of grass between crops restricts the flow of water and breaks wind speed. This is called strip cropping.

 Planting lines of trees creates a shelter from the fast moving winds and prevents erosion. These are called shelter beds.

Land Degradation:

 Land degradation is a human induced or natural process which negatively affects the land to function effectively with in an ecosystem, by accepting, storing and recycling water, energy and nutrients.