Resources and Its Classification

  • Everything available in our enviornment which can be used to satisfy our needs, provided it is technologically accessible, economically feasible and culturally acceptable can be termed as ‘Resource’.
  • Resources can be classified in the following ways:

a) On the basis of origin:

i) Biotic

ii) Abiotic

i) Biotic resources : These are obtained from biosphere and have life such as human beings, flora and fauna, fisheries, livestock, etc.

ii) Abiotic resources : Resources that comprise of non-living things, such as roads, minerals, etc.

b) On the basis of exhaustibility:

i) Renewable

ii) Non-renewable

i) Renewable resources : The resources which can be used again and again and can be reproduced by physical, chemical or mechancial processes are known as renewable or replenished resources. For example, solar and wind energy.

ii) Non-renewable resources : These are the resources that once used, can’t be reproduced or replenished For example, fossil fuels, minerals like copper and iron ore.

  • Natural resources : Natural endowments in the form of land, water, vegetation and minerals are called natural resources. These are free gifts of nature.
  • Man-made resources : These are the resources that are created by human beings with the help of machines.

c) On the basis of ownership : 

i) Individual

ii) Community

iii) National

iv) International

i) Individual resources : The resources owned privately by individuals.

ii) Community-owned resources : Resources which are accessible to all the members of the community.

iii) National resources : All the resources which are present in the political boundary of a nation up to 12 nautical miles in the ocean from the coast.

iv) International resources : The resources that do not belong to any individual country.

d)  On the basis of status of development:

i) Potential

ii) Developed

iii) Stock

iv) Reserves

i) Potential resources : Resources which are available in a region, but have not taken utilized.

ii) Developed resources : Resources which are surveyed and their quantity and quality have been determined for utilization.

iii) Stock : Materials present in the environment which have the potential to satisfy huan needs, but human beings do not have the appropriate technology to access these materials.

iv) Reserves : They are the subsets of the stock which can be put into use with the help of ousting technology but their use has not been started yet.

  • Resources are compulsory for human survival as well as for maintaining the quality of life.
  • Human beings use resources indiscriminately and this had led to global ecological crises such as global warming, ozone layer depletion, environmental pollution and land degradation.

Development of Resources

  • Resources are vital for human survival. It was believed that resources are free gifts of nature. As a result, man used them indiscriminately whcih led to the following problems:

i) Depletion of resources.

ii) Accumulation of resources in a few hands divided the society into rich and poor.

iii) Indiscriminate exploitation of resources had led to global environmental crisis.

  • For a sustained quality of life and global peace, it is essential that resources should be distributed equally.
  • Resource planning is essential for sustainable existence of all forms of life.
  • Sustainable development: It means development should take place without damaging the environment and development in the present should not compromise with needs of the future generations.

Rio de Janerio Earth Summit, 1992

  • In June 1992, for achieving sustainable development in the 21st century, more than 100 countries of the world participated in the First International Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio in Brazil.
  • The main focus of this summit was to protect environment and maintain economic development at the global level. The leaders of the countries signed the Declaration on Global Climate Change and Biological Diversity.
  • Agenda 21 : It has been signed by world leaders at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).
  • The aim of this agenda is to achive global sustainable development by combating environmental damage, poverty and disease through global co-operation on common interests, mutual needs and shared responsibilities.
  • The major objective of this agenda is that every local government has the power to draw its own local Agenda 21.


  • Planning is the widely accepted strategy for judicious use of resources.
  • In a country like India there are regions which are rich in certain types of resources but are deficient in some other resources.
  • There are some regions which can be considered self sufficient in terms of the availability of resources and there are some regions which have acute shortage of some vital resources.
  • The states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are rich in minerals and coal deposits. Arunachal Pradesh has abundance of water resources but lacks in infrastructural development.

Resource Planning in India

Resource planning involves the following steps:

i) Identification of inventory of resources, which involves surveying, mapping and quantitative as well as qualitative estimation and measurement of resources.

ii) For implementing resources development plans, evolve a planning structure with appropriate techno skill and institutional set up.

iii) Match resource development plan with overall national development plans.

  • There are manyu regions in our country that are rich in resources but these are included in economically backward regions. On the contrary there are some regions which have poor resource base but they are economically developed.
  • Resources can contribute to the development only when they are accompanies by appropriate technological development and institutional changes.
  • In India, resource development does not only involve the availability of resources, but also the technology, quality of human resources and the historical experiences of the people.

Conservatin of Resources

  • Resources are vital for any developmental activity.
  • Irrational consumption and over-utilisation of resources may lead to socio-economic and environmental problems. To overcome these problems, resource conservation is important.
  • Gandhiji was very apt in voicing his concern about resource conservation in these words: “There is enough for everybody’s need and not for any body’s greed.”

Land Resources

  • Land is a natural resource of utmost importance. It supports natual vegetation, wildlife, human life, economic activities, and transport and communication systems.
  • India has about 43% of the land area under plain, which provides facilities for agriculture and industry.
  • Mountains account for 30% of the total land area of the country and ensure perennial flow of some rivers, provide facilities for tourism and ecological aspects.
  • About 27% of the area of the country is the plateau region which possesses rich reserves of minerals, fossil fuels and forests.

Land Utilisation

Land resources are used for the following purpose

i) Forests

ii) Land not available for cultivation : It includes barren and waste land and land put to non-agricultural uses, e.g. buildings, roads, factories, etc.

iii) Other uncultivated land (excluding fallow land): It includes permanent pastures and grazing land, land under miscellaneous tree crops, groves (not included in net sown area), and culturable wasteland (left uncultivated for more than 5 agricultural years).

iv) Fallow land : It includes current fallow-(left without cultivation for one or less than one agricultural year) and other than current fallow-(left uncultivated for the past 1 to 5 agricultural years).

v) Net sown area : It includes area sown more than once in an agricultural year.

  • Gross cropped area : Area sown more than once in an agricultural year plus net sown area is known as gross cropped area.
  • Fallow land : A land which is left without cultivation for one or less than one agricultual year for increasing its fertility is known as the fallow land.
  • Wasteland : Land which is not suitable for cultivation is known as wasteland.
  • Net sown area : Area sown once in a year is known as the net sown area.
  • Pasture : Grassland which is used for providing food for animals.

Land use Pattern in India

  • The use fo land is determined by physical factors such as topography, climate, soil types and human factors such as population density, techonology capability and culture and traditions.
  • The total geographical area of India is 3.2 million sq. km. Land use data, however, is available only for 93 of the total geographical area.
  • The pattern of net sown area varies from one state to another. It is over 80 percent of the total area in Punjab and Haryana and less than 10 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Andaman Nicobar Islands.
  • Forest area in the country is far lower than the desired 33 per cent of geographical area.
  • Wasteland includes rocky, arid and desert areas and land put to another non-agricultural uses includes settlements, roads, railways, industry etc.

Land Degradation and Conservation Measures

  • Continuous use of land over a long period of time without taking appropriate measuers to conserve and manage it, has resulted in land degradation.
  • Human activities have not only brought about degradation of land but have also aggravated the pace of natural forces to cause damange to land.
  • At present there are about 130 million hectares of degraded land in India of which 28% belong to the forest, 56% is water eroded and the rest is affected by saline and alkaline deposits.

Factors Causing Land Degradation are as follows:

i) Deforestation

ii) Overgrazing

iii) Mining and quarrying

iv) Over irrigation making land saline and alkaline

v) Dust generated from cement and ceramic industry

vi) Industrial effluents

Measures for Conservation of land

i) Afforestation

ii) Proper managemetn of grazing

iii) Shelter belts of plants

iv) Stabilization of sand dunes by planting thorny bushes

v) Proper management of wasteland

vi) Control of mining

vii) Discharge of industrial effluents and wastes after treatment.

Land as a Resource

  • Soil is the most important renewable natural resource. It is the medium of plant growth and different type of living organisms on the earth.
  • Relief, parent rock or bed rock, climate , vegetation and other forms of life and time are important factors in the formation of soil.
  • Soil also consists of organic (humus) and inorganic materials.
  • On the basis of the factors responsible for soil formation, colour, thickness, texture, age , chemical and physical properties, the soils of India can be classified into different types.
  • India has varied relief features, landforms, climatic realms and vegetation types. These features contributed in the development of various types of soils. They are:

i) Alluvial soil:

a) Widely spread in north Indian plains, alluvial soils as a whole are very fertile.

b) Classified as khadar (new alluvial) and bangar (old alluvial).

c) Adequate proportion of potash, phosphoric acid and lime.

ii) Black soil:

a) Also called regur soil. These soils are black in colour

b) Ideal for cotton

c) They cover Maharashtra, Saurashtra, Malwa, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh

d) Rich in soil nutrients, such as calcium carbonate, magnesium, potash and lime, but poor in phosphorous content. The black soils are made up of extremely fine i.e., clayey material. They are well-known for their capacity to hold moisture.

ii) Red and yellow soil:

a) Developed in areas of low rainfall or crystalline igneous rocks.

b) Found in Odisha, Chhattishgarh and the piedmont zone of the Western Ghats.

c) Due to diffusion of iron in crystalline and metamorphic rocks, its colour becomes reddish.

iv) Laterite soil:

a) Develops in areas of high temperature and rainfall.

b) Humus content is low.

c) Mainly found in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and hilly areas of Assam and Odisha.

d) Good for tea, coffee, cashew nuts, etc.

v) Arid soil:

a) Sandy in texture and saline in nature.

b) Lacks in humus and moisture.

c) Found in western Rajasthan.

vi) Forest soil:

a) Found in hilly and mountainous regions.

b) Loamy and silty in valley sides, while coarse grained in the upper slopes.

  • Soil Erosion: 

i) The denundation of top soil cover by agents of nature e.g. wind, water and air is called soil erosion

ii) Human activities that are responsible for soil erosion are deforestation, overgrazing, construction, mining, etc.

  • Measures for soil conservation: 

i) Contour ploughing

ii) Terrace farming

iii) Strip cropping

iv) Shelter belts of trees

v) Plugging of gullies

  • Soil erosion:

The removal of top fertile soil cover due to various reasons such as wind, glacier and water is called soil erosion.

  • Gullies:

The running water cuts through the clayey soil and makes deep channels known as gullies.

  • Sheet erosion:

When the top soil is washed away due to heavy flow of water down the slopes, it is known as sheet erosion.

  • Wind erosion:

When the top fertile soil blows off due to wind, it is known as wind erosion.

  • Strip cropping:

Large fields can be divided into strips. Strips of grass are left to grow between the crops. This breaks up the force of the wind. This method is known as strip cropping.

  • Contour ploughing:

Ploughing along the contour lines can slow down the flow of water down the slopes. This is called ploughing.

  • Shleter belts:

Planting lines of trees to create shleter breaks up the force of the wind. Rows of such trees are called shleter belts.