Natural Resources

Natural Resources

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session, students will be able to

• Explain natural resources


• Natural resources

Natural Resources

• Our  environment  provides 
us  with  a 
variety  of  goods 
and  services necessary for our
day to day lives

• These natural resources include, air, water, soil,
minerals along with the climate and solar energy, which form the non-living or
‘abiotic’ part of nature

• The ‘biotic’ or living parts of nature consists of plants
and animals, including microbes

• Thus, forests, grasslands, deserts, mountains, rivers,
lakes and marine environment all form habitats for specialised communities of
plants and animals to live in

• Interactions between the abiotic aspects of nature and
specific living organisms together form ecosystems of various types

• Many of these living organisms are used as our food

• Others  are  linked 
to  our  food 
less  directly,  such 
as  pollinators  and dispersers of plants, soil animals like
worms, which recycle nutrients for plant growth and fungi and termites that break
up dead plant material so that micro-organisms can act on the detritus to
reform soil nutrients

• History of our
global environment

• About ten thousand years ago, when mankind changed from a
hunter-gatherer, living in wilderness areas such as forests and grasslands into
an agriculturalist, we began to change the environment to suit our own

• Natural ecosystems were developed into agricultural land

• Most traditional agriculturists depended extensively on
rain, streams and rivers for water

• Later they began to use wells to tap underground water
sources and to impound water and created irrigated land by building dams

• Recently we began to use fertilizers and pesticides to
further boost the production of food from the same amount of land, all this has
led to several undesirable changes in our environment

• Mankind has been overusing and depleting natural resources

• Over-intensive use of land has been found to exhaust the
capability of the ecosystem to support the growing demands of more and more
people, all requiring more intensive use of resources

• Industrial growth, urbanisation, population growth and
increase in the use of consumer goods, have all put further stresses on the

• Pollution of air, water and soil have begun to seriously
affect human health

• Changes in land and
resource use

• During the last 100 years, a better health care delivery
system and improved nutritional status has led to rapid population growth, This
phenomena aids to a great demands on the earth’s natural resources

• Large stretches of land such as forests, grasslands and
wetlands have been converted into intensive agriculture

• Land has taken for industry and urban sectors

• These changes have brought about dramatic alterations in
land use patterns and rapid disappearance of valuable natural ecosystems

• Need for more water, food, energy, consumer goods is not
only the result of a greater population, but also result of over utilization of
resources by people from the more affluent societies and the affluent sections
of our own

• Industrial development is aimed at meeting growing demands
for all consumer items

• Growth of industrial complexes has led to a shift of
people from their traditional, sustainable, rural way of life to urban centres

• Last few decades, several small urban centres have become
large cities, some have even become giant mega-cities

• Urban centres cannot exist without resources such as water
from rivers and lakes, food from agricultural areas, domestic animals from
pasture lands and timber, fuel wood, construction material and other resources
from forests

• Rural agricultural systems are dependent on forests,
wetlands, grasslands, rivers and lakes

  The  result 
is  a  serious 
inequality  in  the 
distribution  of  resources among human beings, which is both
unfair and unsustainable

• Earth’s Resources and

• Resources on which mankind is dependent are provided by
various sources or ‘spheres’