What are Natural resources | Importance of Natural Resources in Economy | Renewable & Non Renewable Resources
What are Natural resources?
Natural resources are just what the name implies: resources found in nature. They include fossil fuels (e.g., coal, oil, natural gas), metals (e.g., iron, silver, gold, copper), and other elements that “naturally” occur in the Earth’s crust.
They also include things like fresh water and fish. Natural resources can be renewable or non-renewable.
Many people believe that natural resources are the limited natural materials necessary for the production of goods. Natural resources can also be seen as commodities that can be traded.
Natural resources include coal, oil, gas, gold, silver, copper, platinum, tungsten, and many more. These resources are all found in nature and are used by humans to produce goods.
A country with many natural resources is better off because the country might be able to trade or sell these materials in the international market for money. That money can be used to help people, buy food, and provide supplies.
Natural Resources Examples
10+ Top Natural Resources Examples in the World
- Natural gas
- Other Minerals
Natural Resources Category Examples
Natural resources are classified into two categories based on their availability:
Renewable resources are those that are available in an endless quantity and may be used repeatedly—for instance, a forest, the wind, or the water.
Examples of Renewable Resources
- Solar Energy
- Solar energy
- Tidal Energy
- Ocean Thermal Energy
- Wind Energy
- Geothermal Energy
- Biomass Energy
Non-renewable resources are restricted in abundance due to their non-renewable nature and whose availability may run out in the future.
Examples of Non-Renewable Resources
- Metal Ores
- Fossil Fuels
- Earth Minerals
Biotic and Abiotic Resources Examples
Biotic resources are those derived from the biosphere, such as live organisms and forests, as well as the products derived from them. This primarily refers to fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and petroleum.
Biotic Resources Examples
Examples of Biotic Resources include:
- Aspen trees
- Citrus fruit
- Larch trees
- Pine trees
- Teak trees
Abiotic resources refer to non-living physical and chemical elements in the ecosystem. Abiotic resources are usually obtained from the lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere.
Abiotic Resources Examples
Examples of abiotic resources are:
- iron ore
Importance of Natural resources: Reasons why Natural Resources are Important in Life
1. Importance of Natural resources in wealth Creation
Natural resources are a source of prosperity. Indeed, natural resources account for the lion’s share of most countries’ wealth.
Countries with abundant natural resources, particularly non-renewable natural resources, continue to see the value of such resources climb as developing countries increase their energy consumption.
This is in addition to the greater value placed on non-renewable natural resources due to their depletion. As a result, many countries rely on natural resources to keep their economies afloat.
2. Importance of Natural resources in economic Development
Each country has large natural resources; however, there is an unequal distribution of natural resources among countries.
Countries with rich natural resource bases can be poor because of the lack of knowledge and technology to use these valuable resources efficiently.
But those countries which can efficiently use them become more prosperous and developed. As a result, they have a higher human development index (HDI) value than the other countries.
3. Importance of Natural resources in Poverty Elimination
Natural resources are instrumental in poverty elimination and development. Natural resources can play a key role in ensuring sustainable development and that poverty is eliminated.
Thus, filling up this gap with natural resources will contribute to the betterment of the economy, and thus poverty is definitely going to be eradicated from the country.
4. Importation of Natural Resources: Impact on Environment
Importing natural resources has its own impact on the environment and environmental pollution. Pollution is the fourth biggest cause of death.
The leather industry is one of the top polluters in the world. Through pollution, chemicals from tanneries are entering the water, air, and soil of Bangladesh. It is causing both environmental and social problems.
If a country is poor and does not have natural resources, then it can import resources from another country to help build its economy or use them for growth.
It can also import natural resources to create jobs and gain wealth.
5. Importance of Natural resources in Countries’ Development
Natural resources can play a major role in helping developing countries achieve their full economic potential.
Many of the world’s poorest countries do not have the resources to provide for their people. However, rich nations have access to excess supplies of natural resources that can be used as trading commodities and are sold on the international market.
This increases the amount of wealth available to these poor developing nations.
6. Importance of natural resources to agriculture
Natural resources are essential to the agricultural industry. Without a good quality soil, water supply, or enough sunlight, a farmer can’t grow food to help feed the people in the area.
The local farms receive their water from nearby rivers and streams.
However, because there is an abundance of farmers using this limited resource, much of it is polluted and unusable for agriculture.
A country with an abundance of natural resources should be able to sell these resources to buy food to help feed its people instead of relying on other countries for food imports.
7. Importance of natural resources in the creation of employment
Natural resources are important agricultural products that can be used to create many jobs. Adding more of these types of projects can lead to more economic growth and employment in the areas where they are located. Natural resources manufacturing is one such industry that generates many jobs.
8. Importance of natural resources in food availability
As stated above, natural resources are essential for food production, but they also have a significant role in food availability.
Natural resources help rural areas survive, and school children learn how to plant crops and make them thrive so they can eventually become farmers.
These things are taught in schools where students learn about natural resources in a fun way that helps them remember what they have learned.
Natural resources and other agricultural products are essential to sustain a country’s food security needs and ensure that food is available for domestic consumption.
Agricultural production is highly dependent on natural resources and other agricultural commodities as it depends on the climate, soil, land use patterns, and available farm inputs.
9. Importance of natural resources in the provision of housing and infrastructure
Natural resources are used to build roads, schools, hospitals, and offices. They are also used to provide proper housing for people.
Houses made from natural materials such as brick or wood are cheaper than houses made of concrete or steel. Because these materials can be made from natural resources, they help the economy and therefore provide shelter for people.
10. Importance of Natural resources in Improving Living Standards
Natural resources help countries enjoy a higher standard of living by providing energy sources, raw materials, food products, and infrastructure that can improve the standard of living in the country. They also help improve the economy by making the population more self-reliant.
11. Importance of Natural resources in Economic development
Natural resources are crucial for a country’s economic development. They help bring industry to a country, create more job opportunities for the people and improve the standard of living in the country.
12. Importance of Natural resources in people Health
Natural resources are essential to the health of people. Natural resources help provide certain medicines, foods, and other health products that can be used to help combat common diseases.
13. Importance of Natural resources in environmental protection
Natural Resources are also important in protecting the environment from pollution. The natural resources that are not under proper utilization because of their availability can be utilized for good by creating parks or reserves for wildlife, waste management areas, or using them as drinking water sources in drought-prone areas to help keep the flowing water clean.
14. Importance of Natural resources in Business & Investments
Natural resources are a good investment that can help the country earn a profit from selling these goods when they are ready to sell them in the market.
15. Importance of Natural resources in providing family needs
Natural resources impact social needs for people by providing families with job opportunities that can help raise their standard of living and provide a better livelihood for themselves and their loved ones.
16. Importance of Natural resources to provide Domestic Energy
Natural Resources play an important role in providing domestic energy to the population. They help provide electricity and gas to the people by using natural resources such as coal, hydroelectric power, wind power, etc. These resources are much cheaper and better for the environment than using fossil fuels.
17. Importance of Natural resources in Providing Infrastructure for the country
Natural resources help in providing infrastructure for a developing country, such as bridge building, road construction, airport building, etc.
They help in providing infrastructure for the growth of the economy and help provide jobs for the people in different industries.
18. Importance of Natural resources in providing Clean Water to the country
Natural Resources play an important role in providing clean water to the community. This is achieved by creating reservoirs, ponds, rain tanks, or wells using natural resources such as stone, clay, sand or boulders, etc.
19. Importance of Natural resources in Biodiversity/supporting ecological balance
Natural resources help in preserving the biodiversity of a country. Habitat loss and climate change are two important factors that threaten wildlife and vegetation and can affect food security, water quality, air quality, and ecosystem services.
Threats to Natural Resources
1. Intensive Agricultural and Farming Practices
Due to farmers’ conversion of forests and grasslands to croplands, intensive farming practices have absorbed a significant amount of natural resource space.
The push to turn land into resource regions for the production of high-priced foods, crops, and cattle has increasingly resulted in the devaluation of natural resources, particularly forests, wildlife, and fertile plains, in the modern world.
Agricultural waste, fertilizers, and pesticides have also posed a threat to a variety of natural crop species, natural water resources, and aquatic life due to their runoff into marine and freshwater settings.
2. Climate Change and Global Warming
Global warming is a severe threat to the natural resources of the future. Global temperature fluctuations, together with variations in rainfall and drought patterns, can have devastating impacts on landscapes, forests, rivers, lakes, and aquifers.
The severity of these changes is largely dependent on many factors, including the size and quality of water reserves in a watershed, change in precipitation patterns, habitat disturbances, and shifts in wildlife distributions.
Urbanization occurs when people settle into cities following external pressures such as increased transportation links or economic prosperity.
Urbanization has led to a fast, non-sustainable, and irreversible depletion of natural resources. Cities have an enormous impact on the environment, placing strain on natural resources due to their high energy demands and consumption rates.
Urbanization also increases pollution rates and leads to the extinction or over-exploitation of wildlife species through habitat destruction.
4. Air Pollution
Air pollution is a severe threat to human health as well as a major threat to natural resources like soil, water, and air.
Air pollution is so rampant in cities that it poses a great risk to public health. Air pollution has resulted in serious health issues such as asthma, bronchitis, and lung cancer.
An even larger threat to natural resources includes the contamination of forests, rivers, lakes, and oceans due to the release of pollutants into the atmosphere.
5. Water Pollution
Water pollution is a big problem that impacts thousands of people around the world by damaging drinking water sources and increasing water-borne diseases such as typhoid fever and cholera.
Pollutants in the water, such as feces and industrial waste, can also lead to a variety of health issues for both humans and aquatic life.
Water pollution can be caused by the release of toxic chemicals into waterways from factories, power plants, and transportation sources.
6. Wildlife Over-exploitation
Wildlife over-exploitation is another destructive force to natural resources and ecosystems worldwide. Wildlife over-exploitation occurs when human populations are increasing at a faster rate than wildlife populations.
As human populations grow, so does the demand for non-sustainable resources such as timber, livestock, and wildlife for use in food.
7. Invasive Species
The accidental or intentional introduction of non-native species into a natural environment can increase the risk of extinction of native organisms and alter an entire ecosystem.
The threat of invasive species is particularly prevalent in fragile habitats with poorly defended environments.
8. Overpopulation Which Brings About Over-exploitation
Due to the rapid growth of populations across the world, there is a steady rise in human exploitation of natural resources.
Overpopulation issues are further exacerbated by man-made environmental problems such as deforestation and pollution.
As human populations grow, demand for resources increases exponentially; therefore, natural resource extraction rates become increasingly unsustainable.
9. Overexploitation of Soil
The degradation or depletion of soil quality through unsustainable farming practices can decline agricultural productivity and land fertility. The loss of soil quality adds to a rapid depletion of natural resources, such as timber and agricultural lands.
10. Deforestation and Forest Degradation
The deforestation of forests can lead to soil erosion due to heavy rains. The associated runoff from the eroded land is discharged directly into local waterways, causing water pollution in those areas.
The loss of forest cover can also affect wildlife due to the loss of natural habitats and food sources.
11. Overfishing and Exploitation of Marine Life
Overfishing is a threat to fish species, reducing their numbers and lowering the total amount of fish available for human consumption.
Oceanic predators such as sharks, tuna, and swordfish have been severely affected by overfishing practices due to their ever-increasing demand for shark fin soup in Asian countries like China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam.
12. Inadequate Protection of Natural Resources
Inadequate protection of natural resources from natural disasters, over-exploitation, and unsustainable harvesting practices is a threat to a variety of ecosystems and does not allow species time to recover.
In the face of growing populations, threats to natural resources will only intensify in the future.
The health of communities in many parts of the world is being threatened by rapid and unsustainable depletion rates of natural resources.