The student will be able to:

o   Explain what Natural Resources are and give some examples of Natural Resources.

o   Distinguish between renewable and Non- Renewal Natural Resources.

o   Explain the need for conserving Natural resources and identify the methods of their conservation.

o   Explain the ecosystem approach to Natural Resource Management 



Natural Resources

Natural resource refers to all the natural things on the earth. It includes everything, that is naturally available and that is not man-made.


Types of Natural Resources

There are various methods of categorizing natural resources, these include source of origin, abundances and availability, and by their renewability.



Ø  Biotic (organic) resources: resources obtained from the biosphere (living and organic material), such as plants, animals, and the materials that can be obtained from them such as fossil fuels (e.g., coal and petroleum)

Ø  Abiotic (Inorganic): resources that come from non-living, non-organic material. E.g., land, fresh water, air and heavy metals such as gold, iron, copper, silver, etc.


Abundance and Availability

·         Inexhaustible resources: These include air, clay, sand, tidal energy and precipitation. These are not likely to be exhausted by human race.

·         Exhaustible resource: The amount of these resources is limited. These are likely to be finished by human use. E.g., coal, petroleum, natural gas etc.



  Renewable resource: can be used, reused, or once used can be replaced if managed wisely. They are not likely to be lost due to excessive and unwise use. They are mainly living things and their products. E.g., crops, wildlife, fisheries, air, soil, solar energy.

         Non-renewable resources: once used, they cannot be replaced once they are used. E.g., metallic minerals, rocks, and fossil fuels. It takes millions of years to form them.



Conservation is the protection or preservation and careful management or wise use of natural resources in order to ensure continuity or suitability or availability of supply.

Ways of conserving natural resources

Ø  Preserving the existing natural resources

Ø  Reusing or recycling renewable resources when possible

Ø  Practicing wise management of all non-renewable resources

Ø  Instituting and enforcing conservation laws

Ø  Protecting natural resources from contamination or pollution by

o   Limiting the use of pesticides and other toxic chemicals

o Limiting wastewater and airborne pollutants

o Preventing the production of radioactive materials

o   Regulating drilling and transportation of petroleum products


Activities of man which result in depletion of resources

¨      Poor farming            

¨      Pollution

¨      Deforestation             

¨      Desertification

¨      Population explosion

¨ Increase demand for fuel or mineral resources 

¨      Indiscriminate hunting of wild life


Problems in Conservation

·         Poverty or poor funding

·         Subsistence farming methods e.g., bush burning 

·         Use of wood for fuel    

· Overgrazing or constant cropping or fishing  

·         Inadequate land for farming  

·         Urbanization or industrialization 

·         Indiscriminate game hunting

·   Poor public education or disregards for existing laws


Forest Resources

Forests are the most important resource of our country. Naturally forests are mostly found in regions of high rainfall and regions of high altitude.


Importance of Forest

Maintains ecological balance                                             

       Providing fire wood

       Provides raw materials to many industries                        

       Provides herbs medicine

Provides food                                                                    

       Conserve the soils 

       Provides protection to wild animals                               

       Scientific research etc.        

       Maintains soil fertility through nutrients recycling           

       Preserve natural species


Methods of Forest Conservation

Ø  Replanting of harvested trees

Ø  Regulations controlling excessive clearing of forest

Ø  Avoid bush burning

Ø  Authorize selective logging; cutting mature trees

Ø  Training of forest rangers and foresters to guard the forest, against intruders

Ø  Educating the public on dangers of deforestation

Ø  Use pesticides to kill pest and control plant diseases or planting disease resistant strains of trees.





Soil Resources

Soils are the basis of biosphere, because soils nourish and support plant growth (primary producers) and all the animals depend directly on plants as primary consumers or as secondary consumers.


Importance of Soil or Land

ü  Contains mineral resources

ü  Provides nutrients to plants

ü  Habitat for organisms

ü  Medium for agricultural production 


Methods of Soil Conservation

·         Regular use of manures and fertilizers to replace the minerals used by the crops.

·         Crop rotation should be practiced

·         Nitrogen fixing organisms can be inoculated into the soil.

·         Reducing of overgrazing

·         Afforestation or reducing deforestation

·         Terracing to prevent soil erosion

·         Cover cropping to prevents soil erosion

·         Contour ploughing to checks soil erosion

·         Reducing overgrazing


Mineral Resources

The ores obtained from the earth's crust are named as minerals. The earth's crust contains several mineral ores such as hematite, pyrite, bauxite, dolomite, etc. Minerals are the adequate products. Their presence is limited. Conservation of mineral resources is very important for future use.


Importance of Mineral deposit

       Production of jewelry or ornaments              

       Road construction

       Sources of revenue or income                       

       Production of weapons

       Sources of energy                                    

       Raw material for industrial use

Minerals Conservation Methods 

Ø  Encourage the use of low-quality minerals in preference of high-quality minerals.

Ø  Support the re-use and recycling of the minerals and their products.


Crude Oil

Hydrocarbon based natural oil trapped in deeper layers of earth's crust is useful to produce many refined petroleum products such as high speed diesel, petrol. Petrol and diesel are commonly burnt in automotive vehicles to generate power for movement.


Importance of oil or Petroleum

o   Production of energy

o   Electricity generation

o   Raw material for industry

o   Source of revenue or income


Methods of Conserving Oil

Ø  Avoid wastage of energy

Ø  Use of biogas should be encouraged

Ø  Developing more efficient engines to reduce wastage.

Ø  Search for new oil reserves should continue.

Ø  Encourage alternative sources of energy such as solar energy, tidal, wind energy

Ø  Population growth should be controlled to check increased in energy requirement


Water Resources

Plant and animals living in oceans are referred as marine resources, whiles those living in flowing water like rivers as well as standing water like ponds are called fresh water resources. Apart from plant and animal resources, large mineral wealth is also found in water bodies. E.g., extraction of common salt and shells of mollusks.

Importance of Water

§  Domestic and industrial use

§  For tourism

§  For photosynthesis in plants

§  For transportation

§  Source of generating electricity

§  For irrigation or fish farming

§  Habitat for aquatic organisms

§  Sporting activities, games or swimming


Water Conservation methods 

ü  Careful and economical use of water for domestic and industrial purposes

ü  Avoid wastage of irrigation water by checking leakage in irrigation channels. 

ü  Build dams and reservoirs to store water

ü  Avoid pollution of water bodies

ü  Reuse of polluted water after purification should be encouraged


Wild Life

Wildlife refers to all the undomesticated animals and plants. Natural disasters and Human activities such as hunting, deforestation, overgrazing and pollution have affected the natural habitats of animals and plants leading to reduction in their number and to extinction of many species. The population density of many plants and animals has reduced drastically that they face the problem of being lost forever. These species are said to be endangered.


Endangered species: is a species whose population or habitat has become so small that it may be lost or completely wiped out if not protected. E.g., elephants, ostriches and grey whale.  



Activities of human causing species to be endangered

·         Bush burning or bush fires

·         deforestation or quarrying or mining

·         Poaching or illegal hunting of wildlife or killing of young animals

·         Polluting of water bodies e.g., oil spills, fishing with chemicals

·         Urbanization


Reason for Conserving Wildlife

¨      Many wild plants have medicinal values

¨      For tourist attraction

¨      To preserve endangered species

¨      Some derive pleasure from hunting and fishing

¨      Many predatory wild animals keep pests in check

¨      Many species may be more resistant to diseases


Methods of Wildlife Conservation

Ø  Poaching or unlawful killing of animals should be prevented

Ø  Preservation of endangered species

Ø  Habitat preservation to provide full protection to wild life.

Ø  Educate the public about the need to protect the environment

Ø  National parks and game reserves has to be set up for the preservation of wild life.

Ø  Game cropping should be practice only in national parks and game reserves to reduce overpopulation.


A national park is a tract of land reserved and maintained by a national government solely for the welfare of the entire wild life in it. Cultivation and grazing are not allowed in national parks.

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