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
Cannot be reproduced or replenished. They take millions of years to form. E.g. Metals, fossils fuels, minerals etc.
Privately owned by individuals
E.g. Individual ownership of land in the form of houses and agricultural fields
Accessible to all members of a community
E.g. Village ponds, public parks, burial grounds etc.
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.
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.
Though they are in existence, they are not being completely utilized.
E.g. Potential of wind and solar energy in Rajasthan
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.
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.
It is necessary for making maximum utilization of the available resources.
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 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
National Forest Policy (1932) envisages 33% of the land area under forests in India. However, it is only 22%.
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
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.
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
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
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 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.