• Natural resource : It is a component of natural environment that can be utilized by man to promote his welfare.
  • The important resources are soil, water, land, energy, marine and mineral.
  • The 3 R’s for conservation of an environment are Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.
  • 3 R’s policy helps to
    i) Reduce pollution of environment by reducing garbage.
    ii) Reduce stress on industries as they have less demand on them.
    iii) Save sources for fresh raw materials.
    iv) Save energy demand by industries.
    v) Less litter and garbage is generated.
  • Need to manage resources
    i) They may get exhausted if overused or misused. It needs long-time perspective so that they last for generations to come. They should not be exploited to be used for a short-term gain.
    ii) Equitable distribution to all and not to only rich and powerful. It will bring social, economical and political stability in a nation.
    iii) To conserve an environment, for example, mining may cause land pollution because of the slag formed. Its safe disposal is necessary.
    iv) To prepare biodiversity for stability of ecological system.
    v) Ultimately it will bring sustainable development in a nation.


About one-third of the world’s land surface is covered by the forests. It is an ecosystem (plants and animals) which is dominated by trees. Forests are the most useful renewable resources.

  • Importance of forests
    i) Forests purify the air and also prevent pollution of air.
    ii) Forests regulate the climate by maintaining the level of rainfall necessary for their own existence.
    iii) Forests are necessary to check floods and soil erosion and maintain soil fertility.
    iv) The forest recycle water into atmosphere and then fall as rain to replenish groundwater.
    v) These also decrease the run-off rate of rainwater.
    vi) These forests also provide rubber, wood, timber, fuel, paper, fodder, gum, resin, kattha, edible fruits and medicinal plants for industries as well as local people.
    vii) The forests also provide animal products like honey, wax, lac, etc.
    viii) Forests are important for wildlife and human recreation.
    ix) Wild animals are the main source of meat in many parts of the country.
    x) Forests serve as a source of income to tribal societies even today.
    xi) The forests are of aesthetic importance.
    xii) Forests are a storehouse of biodiversity (hot spots of biodiversity). One measure of biodiversity of an area is the number of species found there.
  • Effects of deforestation
    i) Increased soil erosion and hence, decreased fertility.
    ii) Formation of deserts and flood.
    iii) Extinction of plants, animals and microbial species.
    iv) Increase in CO2 concentration.
    v) Global warming.
  • Reasons of destruction of forests
    i) Cutting trees for timber, paper and other raw materials for industries.
    ii) Clearing forest for agriculture, industries and residence.
    iii) Forest fires and land slides.
    iv) Disruption of water cycle and overuse of groundwater.
    v) Killing carnivores and increase population of herbivores.
  • Natural resources can be categorised :
    a) on the basis of rate at which they are regenerated through natural cycle as renewable and non-renewable resources.
    b) depending upon their handling by human and its impact on them – exhaustible and inexhaustible resources.
  • Sustainable development is the form of growth that meets current basic human needs while preserving the resource for needs of the future generations. For this man has to practise the following:
    i) Plant more trees (refer to afforestation programmes).
    ii) Creating awareness
    iii) Involve local people.
    iv) Maintain green grassy patches between concrete buildings.
    v) Use more of an environment friendly materials.
    vi) Use materials which can be recycled.
    vii) Use technologies which are environmentally sound and based on efficient use of resources.
    viii) Conservation of resources. The methods of the 3 R’s can be used to conserve them, i.e., Reduce, Recycle, Reuse.
    iv) Replacing non-renewable with renewable resources.