NATURAL RESOURCES: a) Renewable and non-renewable resources: Forest resources, Use andover-exploitation,deforestation, case studies. Timber extraction, mining, damsand their efforts on forests andtribal people b) Water resources: Use and over-utilization of surface and ground water,floods, drought, conflicts over water,dams-benefits and problems c) Mineral resources: Useand exploitation,environmental effects of extracting and using mineral resources’, casestudies d)Food resources: World foods problems, changes caused by agricultureandovergrazing, effects of modern agriculture, fertilizer – pesticide problems,Water logging, salinity, case studies e) Energy resources: growing energy needs,renewableand renewable energy resources, use of alternate energy sources f)Land resources: land as aresource, land degradation, man induced landslides,desertification.Role of an individual inconservation of natural resources.Equitable use of resources for sustainable lifestyles.
Renewable resources:The resources that can be replenished through rapidnatural cycles are known as renewableresource. These resources are able toincrease their abundance through reproduction andutilization of simplesubstances. Examples of renewable resources are plants, (crops andforests),and animals who are being replaced from time to time because they have thepowerof reproducing and maintain life cycles. Some examples of renewableresources though theydo not have life cycle but can be recycled are wood andwood-products, pulp products,natural rubber, fibers (e.g. cotton, jute, animalwool, silk and synthetic fibers) and leather.In addition to these resources, water and soil are also classified as renewable resources.Solarenergy although having a finite life, as a special case, is considered as arenewable resourcein as much as solar stocks are inexhaustible on the humanscale.
Non-Renewable Resources:The resources that cannot be replenishedthrough natural processes are known asnon-renewable resources. These areavailable in limited amounts, which cannot beincreased. These resourcesinclude fossil fuels (petrol, coal etc.), metals (iron, copper,gold, silver, lead, zincetc.), minerals and salts (carbonates, phosphates, nitrates etc.).Once a non-renewable resource is consumed, it is gone forever. Then we have to findasubstitute for it or do without it.Non-renewable resources can further be dividedinto two categories, viz. a) re-cycle able and b) non-recyclablea) Recycleale: These arenon-renewable resources, which can be collected after they are used and can berecycled. These are mainly the non-energy mineralresources, which occur in theearth’s crust (e.g. ores of aluminium, copper,mercury etc.) and deposits of fertilizernutrients (e.g. phosphate sock andpotassium and minerals used in their natural state(asbestos, clay, mica etc.)b) Non-recyclable: These are non-renewable resources,which cannot berecycled in any way. Examples of these are fossil fuels and uranium,whichprovide 90 per cent of our energy requirements
Some authors prefer to classify resources intobiotic and abiotic resources:a)Biotic resources: These are living resources (e.g. forest,agriculture, fish andwild life) that are able toreproduce or replace them and to increase.b)Abiotic resources: These are non-living resources (e.g. petrol,land, mineralsetc.) that are not able to replacethemselves or do so at such a slow rate thattheyare not useful to consider them in terms of thehuman life times.
FOREST RESOURCES:Forest Resources:It is a dense growth of trees, together with other plants,covering a large area of land. Forestsare one of the most natural resources onthis earth. Covering the earth like a green blanketthese forests not only produceinnumerable material goods, but also provide severalenvironmental serviceswhich are essential for lifeAbout 1/3rdof the world’s land area is forested which includes closed as well asopen forests. FormerUSSR accounts for about a 5thof the world’s forests, Brazilfor about a 7thand Canada and USA each for 6-7%. But it is a matter of concernthat almost everywherethe cover of the natural forests has declined over theyears. The greatest loss occurred intropical Asia where one third of the forestsresources have been destroyed
DEFORESTATION:The total forest area of the world in 1990 was estimated to be 7000 millionhectares whichwas reduced to 2890 million hectares in 1975 and fell down to just 2300 million hectares by2000. Deforestation rate is relatively less intemperate countries, but it is very alarming intropical countries where it is ashigh as 40-50 percent and at the present rate is it estimatedthat in the next 60years we would lose more than 90 percent of our tropical forests.Theforested area in India seems to have stabilized since 1982 with about 0.04%decline annuallybetween 1982-90. FAO (1983) estimated that about 1.44 mhectares of land were broughtunder afforestation during this period leading tostabilization. As per FAO estimates, thedeforestation rate per unit population inIndia is the lowest among the major tropicalcountries, despite the fact that wehave a huge population size and very low per capita forestarea (0.075 ha per capita). However, we are still far behind the target of achieving 33% forestareas,as per our National Forest Policy, as we are still having only 19.27% of our landarea(63.38m ha) covered by forests based on satellite data (MoFF, 1998)
DAMS AND THEIR EFFECTS ON FORESTS AND PEOPLE:Big dams and rivers valley projects have multi-purpose uses and PanditJawaharlal Nehruused to refer to these dams and valley projects as “Temples of modern India”. However,these dams are also responsible for the destruction of vast areas of forests. India has morethan 1550 large dams, the maximum beingin the state of Maharashtra (more than 600),followed by Gujarat (more than 250)and Madhya Pradesh (130). The highest one is Tehridam, on river Bhagirathi inUttaranchal and the largest in terms of capacity is Bhakra damon river Satluj inHimachal Pradesh.Big dams have been in sharp focus of variousenvironmental groups all over theworld which is mainly because of several ecologicalproblems includingdeforestation and socio-economic problems related to tribal or nativepeopleassociated with them.The Silent valley hydroelectric project was one of the first suchprojects situatedin the tropical rain forest area of Western Ghats which attracted muchconcern of the people.The crusade against the ecological damage and deforestation causeddue toTehri dam was led by Shri..Sunder lal Bahaguna, the leader of ChipkoMovement. Thecause of Sardar Sarovar Dam related issues have been taken upby the environmentalactivitist Medha Patkar, joined by Arundhati Ray and BabaAmte
WATER RESOURCES:Water is an indispensable natural resource on this earth on which all lifedepends.About 97% of the earth’s surface is covered by water and most of theanimals andplants have 60-65% water in their body.Water is characterized by certain uniquefeatures which make it a marvelousresource:•It exists as a liquid over a wide range of temperature i.e. from 0 to 100 C.•It has the highest specific heat, due to which it warms up and cools downvery slowlywithout causing shocks of temperature jerks to the aquatic life.•It has high latent heat of vaporization. Hence, it takes huge amount energyfor gettingvaporized. That’s why it produces a cooling effect as itevaporates.•It is in an excellent solvent for several nutrients. Thus, it can serve as avery goodcarrier of nutrients, including oxygen, which are essential for life. But it can alsoeasily dissolve various pollutants and become a carrier of pathogenicmicroorganisms.•Due to high surface tension and cohesion it can only easily rise throughgreat heightsthrough the trunk even in the tallest of the trees like Sequoia.
MINERAL RESOURCES:Minerals are naturally occurring, inorganic, crystalline solids having definitechemicalcomposition and characteristic physical properties. There arethousands of mineralsoccurring in different parts of the world. However, most of the rocks, we see everyday arejust composed of few common minerals likequartz, feldspar, biotite etc. These minerals inturn are composed of someelements like silicon, oxygen, iron etc.Minerals are generally used for development of industrial plants, generation of energy,construction, equipments and armament for defence, transportationmeans, medicalsystem, communication, jewellery- gold, silver etc
FOOD RESOURCES:There are thousands of edible plants and animals over the world out of whichonly aboutthree dozen types constitute major food of humans. The main foodresources includewheat, rice, maize, potato, barley, oats etc. about twenty or socommon fruits andvegetables, milk, meat, fish and seafood.World food problems: Every year food problem iskilling as many people as werekilled by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima duringWorld War II. This showsthat there is drastic need to increase food production, equitablydistribute it andalso to control population growth. Although India is the third largestproducer of staple crops, an estimated 300 million Indians are still undernourished. Indiahasonly half as much land as USA, but it has nearly three times population to feed.Ourfood problems are directly related to population
ENERGY RESOURCES:Energy consumption of a nation is usually considered as an index of itsdevelopment. Thisis because almost all the development activities are directly or indirectly dependent uponenergy. There are wide disparities in per capita energyuse between developed and thedeveloping nations.The very original form of energy technology probably was the fire,whichproduced heat and the early man used it for cooking and heating purposes. Windandhydropower has also been used. Invention of steam engineers replaced theburning of woodby coal and coal was further replaced by oil. The oil producinghave started twisting arms ofthe developed as well as developing countries bydictating the prices of oil and otherpetroleum products.Energy resources are primarily divided into two categories viz.renewable andnon-renewable sources.Renewable energy resources must be preferred overthe non-renewableresources. This will seek to end the energy crisis which the world isfacing today.It is inevitable truth that now there is an urgent need of thinking in termsof alternative sources of energy, which are also termed as non-conventional energysourceswhich include: 1. solar energy- made up equipments such has solar heatcollectors, solarcells, solar cooker, solar water heater, solar furnace, solar power plants are must. 2. Windenergy 3. Hydropower, Tidal energy, ocean thermalenergy, geothermal energy, biomass,biogas, biofuels etc.The non renewable energy sources include coal, petroleum, natural gas,nuclear energy
Land as a resource:Land is a finite and valuable resource upon which we depend for our food, fiber and fuelwood, the basic amenities of life. Soil is also a valuable resourceLand Degradation:Because of increasing of population growth the demands for arable land for producing foodand fuel wood is also increasing. Hence there ismore and more pressure on the limited landresources which are gettingdegraded due to over-exploitation. Soil erosion, water logging,salinization andcontamination of the soil with industrial wastes like fly-ash, press mud orheavymetals all cause degradation of land
EQUITABLE USE OF RESOURCES FOR SUSTAINABLE LIFE STYLEThere is a big divide in the world viz. North and South, more developed countries(MDCs)and Less Developed countries (LDCs), haves and have-nots.But this is observed that MDCshave only 22% of world’s population but they use88% of natural resources, 73% of energyand command 85% of income, in turnthey contribute very big proportion to its pollution.On the other hand LDCs havevery low or moderate industrial growth and have 78% ofworld’s population. Theyuse only 12% of natural resources, 27% of energy and have only15% of globalincome. The rich have gone richer and the poor have stead even poorer. Thereisa huge gap between those two worlds. This is not sustainable growth.The solution to thisproblem is to have more equitable distribution of resourcesand wealth. A globalconsensus has to be reached for balanced distribution.There are two major causes ofunsustainability.1. Over population in poor countries and2. Over consumption of resourcesby rich countries