Management of natural resources

Management of Natural Resources

What do you understand by the management of natural resources? Before Knowing about the Management of Natural Resource you need to know Natural resources first to Understand the Management of Natural Resource.

Natural Resources

Natural resources are nonliving and living components of nature that are being used or have the potential of being used by human beings for meeting their requirements of food, fodder, shelter, clothing, articles of use, and recreation.

Examples: Land, water, soil, air, sunlight, plants, animals, etc all are natural Resources.

Type of Natural Resources

There are two types of Natural resources.

  1. Inexhaustible resources 
  2. Exhaustible Resources

Inexhaustible Resources

Inexhaustible resources are those resources that occur in such abundance that they are unlikely to get exhausted with time, e.g., water, air, solar energy.

Exhaustible Resources

Exhaustible resources are resources that are likely to diminish and get exhausted with continuous exploitation.

Exhaustible resources of two types

  1. Renewable Resources
  2. Nonrenewable Resources
Renewable Resources

Renewable resources are exhaustible resources that are being replenished naturally and are, therefore, likely to remain available if they are not used beyond their renewability, e.g., forests, wildlife, soil.

Nonrenewable Resources

Nonrenewable resources are those resources that are likely to get exhausted with continued use because of a lack of regeneration, e.g., fossil fuel.

Forest & Wild Life

Forests (L. foris – outside) are large uncultivated self-maintained wooded tracts dominated by trees forming a nearly closed canopy. Besides trees, the forests possess shrubs, climbers, herbs, herbivores, carnivores, saprophytes, and parasites living together maintaining the harmony of nature.

Wildlife refers to living beings comprising animals, plants, and micro-organisms found in natural habitats that neither do domesticated/tamed nor cultivated.

Economic Functions

Foods: Tribals obtain most of their food requirements from the forests, e.g., fruits, tubers, fleshy roots, leaves.

Nuts: Pine Nut (Chilgoza), Almond, Walnut, and Cashewnut are obtained from forest trees.

Spices: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Cloves are spices obtained from forest plants.

Commercial Products: A number of forest products are of commercial importance, e.g., & rubber, resin, tennis, tendu, lac, cork, camphor, essential oils. soap pod and drugs.

Fuel Woods: Nearly two billion persons depend upon forests for fuelwood.

Timber: Wood for the manufacture of furniture, household fitments, and several other articles mostly comes from forests.   

Paper: It is prepared from cellulose-rich plants like bamboos, Boswellia, Eucalyptus, grasses, and several gymnosperms.


Stakeholders are persons or parties having a binding interest in an asset. Forests have four types of stakeholders – locals, forest department, industrialists, wildlife, and nature enthusiasts.


Removal, decrease or deterioration of the forest cover of an area is called Deforestation.  It is caused by excessive felling of trees, overgrazing, monoculture, fragmentation, and clearing of forests. Deforestation causes.

Soil Erosion: Removal of plant cover exposes the fertile soil to wind and water. The latter removes the topsoil and make the area infertile.

Desertification: Removal of forest cover in the plains, makes the area dry. In the hot season, the soil becomes loose.

Floods: In the rainy season many temporary rivulets are formed due to loss of absorption capacity by unprotected soil.

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.

Sustainable Management

Sustainable management is controlling the use of a resource in such a way as to provide equitable availability and continuous flow of products and services to the present generation while ensuring the same for future generations without any harmful impact on the environment.

Use of Water

Water is a basic need for human society being required for drinking, bathing, washing, irrigation, industry, cooling, construction work, disposal of sewage and industrial effluents. Agriculture consumes the maximum amount of water, some 70% of the total. Industry requires 26% of water. Domestic and municipal consumption of water accounts for only 1.1%. Because of the rising population, increasing urbanization, growing industrialization, rising standards of living, the demand for water is increasing day by day.

Water Availability

The basic source of water availability is rainfall. It occurs in India mostly during the monsoon period which lasts for 3-5 months. For the rest of the year, there is no rain. The source of water availability shifts to ground and surface waters.

Dams & Their Use :  

  • Dams are barriers constructed across a stream to hold back water, raise its level, and form reservoirs
  • Dams prevent flooding because they store water during the rainy season. They are used for the generation of electricity (hydroelectric power). Canal systems leading from these dams carry large amounts of water year-round to great distances of irrigation and navigation.
  • Indira Gandhi Canal, for example, has taken water arid areas of Rajasthan (e.g., Jaisalmer, Barmer) bringing greenery all along the way, providing drinking water to thousands of people and irrigation facilities for growing crops like wheat, cotton, and mustard.

Disadvantage of Dams

There are three major problems associated with building large dams.

Social Problems: A large number tribals, peasants and other villagers are displaced. Provision of adequate compensation and rehabilitation measures are not made.

Economic Problem : A huge amount running into thousands of crores is spent on building large sized dams. They do not generate proportionate benefits.

Environmental Problem : There is enormous deforestation and loss of biodiversity.

Water Harvesting

Water harvesting is capturing, collection and storage of rain water and surface run off for filling either small water bodies or recharging ground water so that water continuous to available in non-rainy seasons. Water harvesting has been an age old concept in India. The techniques used are highly region specific.

Coal and Petroleum

What is Coal?

Coal is a blackish solid fossil fuel that occurs in seams inside earth.

Use of Coal

  • Fuel for domestic and commercial establishments.
  • Production of electricity in thermal plants.
  • Manufacture of coke
  • Gasification and liquefaction yields fuel gas and synthetic petrol.
  • A number of organic compounds can be obtained from coal-benzene, toluene, phenol, anilines, naphthalene.

What is Petroleum?

Petroleum is a dark colored liquid fuel that is taken out from various depths of earth both on land and sea shore. It is called mineral oil or rock oil. Petroleum extracted from earth is called crude oil. With the help of fractional distillation

Use of Petroleum

  • LPG is liquefied petroleum gas. It is used in cooking and heating.
  • Petrol, diesel and kerosene are used as a fuel for internal combustion engines of transport vehicles.
  • Lubricating oils provide lubrication to machinery.
  • Paraffin wax is used in candles, Vaseline and water proofing
  • Asphalt is the source of several chemicals and dye. It is also used in the carpeting of road.

Pollution by Coal and Petroleum

Fossil fuels are formed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur. On burning, they produce carbon dioxide, water, oxides of sulfur and nitrogen. In the presence of insufficient oxygen, carbon monoxide is produced instead of carbon dioxide.

Carbon Monoxide: Carbon Monoxide readily combines with hemoglobin forming carboxyhemoglobin. The latter is unable to combine with oxygen. Therefore, the carrying capacity of blood is reduced. In closed rooms, it may cause death due to asphyxiation. This is common in winter when coal-fired heating device is used.

Carbon dioxide: Being a greenhouse gas, it adds to global warming.

Nitrogen Oxides: They cause necrosis and the killing of plant parts. Internal injuries, eye irritation, and loss of smell are produced in humans and animals. Corrosion occurs in metals. They are also components of acid rain.

Sulfur Oxides: They kill lichens, damage metals, marble, and other articles, cause eye irritation, damage to the respiratory tract, and cause acid rain.

Flyash: The burning of coal also produces particulate matter called flyash it contains toxic ingredients.

Management of Fossil Fuels

The management of fossil fuels is mainly based on better use through the use of more and more efficient machines. The internal combustion engines used by vehicles employed in transportation are concentrating on ensuring complete combustion. It will reduce air pollution and increase efficiency. 5-10% ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is being added to petrol to reduce consumption of the latter. Hybrid engines using hydrogen and gasoline are also being developed.



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