What is a resource?
Everything available in our environment which can be used to satisfy our needs, provided it is technologically accessible, economically feasible and culturally acceptable can be termed as ‘Resource’.
How can we use these resources effectively?
For utilisation of these resources human beings should be able to interact with nature by use of technology and in a coordinated manner by creating institutions. This interaction between nature, technology and institutions helps in better exploitation of these resources and help in growth and development.
Human beings too are resources. We work to transform resources for our use by processing it. The institutions and structures we make are also resources.
Classification of Resources
On Basis of Origin
Biotic Resources: These resources are obtained from Biosphere and are composed of living things
Eg. Flora, Fauna, Livestock etc.
Abiotic Resources : These resources are composed of non-living things.
Eg. Minerals, Water, Rocks, Land.. etc
On Basis of Exhaustibility
Renewable Resources: These resources can be renewed or reproduced by physical, chemical or mechanical process in a short time
They are also replenishable but the time taken for their renewal may be varied from few hours to few years
Eg. Wind and Solar energy, water
Non-Renewable Resources : These resources cannot be renewed or reproduced in a short time. They often take millions of years for their formation.
Some resources like metals can be recycled and others cannot be and get exhausted with their use.
On Basis of Ownership
Individual Resources : These resources are owned privately by individuals.
Eg. Land owned by farmers, houses.
Community Resources : These resources are owned collectively by groups and are available for everyone to use.
Eg. Burial Grounds, Playgrounds, Community Wells etc.
On Basis of Geographical Territory
National Resources : All resources within the political boundaries and oceanic area upto 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) from the coast termed as territorial water and resources therein belong to the nation.
The country can acquire even individual or private resources for public good.
International Resources : These resources owned collectively by groups
and are available for everyone to use.
Eg. Burial Grounds, Playgrounds, Community Wells etc.
On Basis of Status of Development
Potential Resources - All resources which haven’t been utilised to their full potential.
Rajasthan and Gujarat have a lot of potential for wind and solar energy but it hasn’t been exploited fully yet.
Developed Resources - Resources which have been surveyed for their quantity and quality and are being used effectively.
The level of their utilisation is based on availability of technology and their economic feasibility.
Stock Resources - Resources which are existent in nature but cannot be used efficiently due to lack of proper technology.
Eg. Use of water to create hydrogen which acts as fuel.
Reserve Resources - Subset of stock resources. These can be exploited by existing technology. It acts as a reserve for future use.
Sustainable Development of Resources and Conservation
It was earlier believed that resources are inexhaustible and were used without any restraint or limitation. This indiscriminate use of resources led to its depletion in nature and has led to global ecological crises such as, global warming, ozone layer depletion, environmental pollution and land degradation.
It has increased competition among individuals, corporations and nations to acquire these resources.
An equitable distribution of resources has become essential for a sustained quality of life and global peace. If the present trend of resource depletion by a few individuals and countries continues, the future of our planet is in danger.
What is Sustainable Development?
Sustainable development means that development should take place without damaging the environment and without compromising the needs of the future generation. That is use of resources wisely and judiciously, so that these resources are available for the next generation to use.
The Earth Summit - 1992
The international conference also called the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) of more than 100 countries met for the first time to discuss the balance between development and problems of environmental damage due to unplanned development.
The conference was the first arrangement in which the leaders of these countries agreed to sign Forest Principles and Agenda21 to achieve sustainable development.
It is an agenda to combat environmental damage, poverty, disease through global co- operation on common interests, mutual needs and shared responsibilities.
One major objective of the Agenda 21 is that every local government should draw its own local Agenda21.
Brundtland Commission Report, 1987 introduced the concept of ‘Sustainable Development’ and advocated it as a means for resource conservation, which was subsequently published in a book entitled Our Common Future.
The concept of resource conservation was advocated first in the Club of Rome.
Why is resource planning essential?
Not all areas in a region have all resources. Some areas may be rich in particular resources, while some may be rich in some others. Different countries in the world have different resources. Similarly, different states in our country are endowed with different resources.
It thus becomes essential for any region to effectively manage the
available resources judiciously to allow for sustainable development.
Resource planning thus requires:
Identification of resources by mapping, surveying and estimation of inventory by measurement.
Development of a planning structure with necessary institutional, technological and skill setup.
Matching of development goals with resources development and exploitation.
How do technological developments and institutional framework help in proper utilisation of resources?
Historically, regions with rich natural resources were colonised and raw material from these regions was exported to factories for their development.
Technological developments in colonial powers such as steam engines, power looms etc helped them exploit these resources for their benefit. This helped in the development of the colonial powers which helped them establish their control over colonies.
It is therefore necessary to have technological development and institutional framework for the proper utilisation of resources. Without proper technology and institutional framework, regions which are rich in resources can be economically backward.
The eastern states of India, namely, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh are rich in natural resources such as coal and other minerals, but their exploitation has been limited due to inefficient infrastructure and technology for their development.
Land Resources in India
Land is a natural resource and is limited. It thus needs to be managed efficiently. It supports a lot of economic activities such as agriculture, transportation, communication systems and it is therefore important to plan its usage.
India has land under a variety of relief features, namely; mountains, plateaus, plains and islands.
43% - Plain areas - provides facilities for agriculture and industry.
30% - Mountains - ensure perennial flow of some rivers, provide facilities for tourism and ecological aspects.
27% - Plateaus- possesses rich reserves of minerals, fossil fuels and forests.
Land Utilisation in India
Total geographical area of India is 3.28 million sq km. Land use data, however, is available only for 93 per cent of the total geographical area because the land use reporting for most of the north-east states except Assam has not been done fully. Moreover, some areas of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by Pakistan and China have also not been surveyed.
Land is utilised for following purposes in India:
Forest area in the country is at 21.5 % which is far lower than the desired 33% of geographical area as outlined in National Forest Policy (1952)
They help in maintenance of ecological balance.
Livelihood of many tribals is dependent on forests.
2. Net Sown Area - Area under agriculture.
Area sown more than once in an agricultural year plus net sown area is known as gross cropped area.
Net sown area varies greatly from one state to another. It is over 80 % of the total area in Punjab and Haryana and less than 10 % in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Andaman Nicobar Islands.
3. Not available for Agricultural Purposes
Barren and Waste Land - Waste land includes rocky, arid and desert areas and land put to other non-agricultural uses includes settlements, roads, railways, industry etc. This also includes land used for factories, homes, roads etc.
4. Fallow Lands
Current Fallow Land - Left uncultivated for a year or less
Other than Current Fallow Land - Left uncultivated for 1 to 5 years
5. Other uncultivated land
Pastures and Grazing Land - land under permanent pasture has decreased.
Culturable waste land - left uncultivated for more than 5 years
Land under miscellaneous tree crops.
Land Degradation and Conservation
Continuous use of land over a long period of time without taking appropriate measures to conserve and manage it, has resulted in land degradation. This, in turn, has serious repercussions on society and the environment.
What are some of the major causes of land degradation in India?
Human intervention has greatly accelerated the damage to lands. Activities such as deforestation, overgrazing, mining and quarrying too have contributed significantly in land degradation.
Abandoned mines cause a lot of land degradation in states such as Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.
Over irrigation in states such as Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh lead to land degradation. Excess water logs the soil leading to increase in salinity of soil making it unfit for agriculture.
Mineral processing like grinding of limestone for cement industry and calcite and soapstone for ceramic industry generate huge quantities of dust in the atmosphere. It retards the process of infiltration of water into the soil after it settles down on the land.
Solving Land Degradation
Proper disposal of industrial waste and effluents. For example, Fly Ash is used in manufacture of bricks and roads to control air pollution
Proper Management of Grazing - avoiding overgrazing
Proper Management of Waste Land
Stabilisation of Sand Dunes by planting shrubs and thorns
Regulation of Mining Activities
Soil as a Resource
Soil is a medium for plant growth and supports living organisms. It is therefore a living system. It takes millions of years for its formation.
Important factors in formation of soil:
Parent rock or bedrock
Vegetation and other forms of life
Various forces of nature such as change in temperature, actions of running water, wind and glaciers, activities of decomposers etc. contribute to the formation of soil
Chemical and organic changes which take place in the soil are equally important. Soil also consists of organic (humus) and inorganic
Classification of Soils in India
India has varied relief features, landforms, climatic realms and vegetation types. 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 in different types.
It is the most widely spread soil type and is found extensively in the Northern Plains.
It is deposited by rivers - Indus, Ganga, Brahmaputra and also found in Deltas of Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri
It is very fertile and it contains potash, phosphoric acid and lime and therefore helpful in agriculture. The suitability of soil for agriculture makes the Northern Plains a region of higher population.
It consists of silt, clay and sand
This soil is common in the following regions of northern plains:
Duars - Alluvial Flood Plains in North-East India in foothills of Himalayas.
Terai - Alluvial Flood plains below Nepal in foothills of Himalayas
Chos - Areas of heavy rainfall and rushing water in plains
The newer Alluvial Soil is called Khadar. It is finer Soil and has experienced less/no withering
The older Alluvial Soil is called Bangar; It has 'Kanker' nodules.
It is found in Deccan Trap (made of lava flows) regions. They are black in colour and are called as ‘Regur’ Soils
It is ideal for growing cotton - also called as black cotton soil
It is made of fine clayey material and can therefore hold moisture.
It is rich in calcium carbonate, manganese, potash and lime but poor in phosphorus
It develops cracks in the dry season to allow air to escape. When the soil is wet it is difficult to work on because it is sticky and clayey.
Red and Yellow Soils
It is found in areas of low rain ; along gentle slopes of Western Ghats, Odisha and Chhattisgarh
Made of igneous rocks in Eastern and Southern Deccan region.Reddish due to Iron and looks yellow when wet.
It is found in Southern States - Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh and few hilly regions in Odisha and Assam.
It develops in regions of high temperature and high rainfall which causes heavy leaching.
This solid looks like brick colour ; derived from word ‘Later’ = Bricks
Low humus as high temperature kills bacteria and other microorganisms
It can be used for cultivation by use of manures and fertilisers. Used in cultivation of tea, coffee and cashew nuts.
It is found in desert areas - Rajasthan and areas of Gujarat - sandy in texture and saline.
Salt can be obtained by evaporation of water.
Low in moisture and humus due to high temperature
Its lower layers has Kanker due to increasing calcium which stops flow of water into ground. Can be used for agriculture after proper irrigation
Its colour ranges from red to brown
Found in hilly and mountainous areas
Loamy and Silty on valley sides ; Coarse grained on upper slopes.
In Snow Covered areas the soil lacks humus and is acidic.
Soil Erosion and Conservation
The denudation of the soil cover and subsequent washing down is described as soil erosion. The processes of soil formation and erosion, go on simultaneously and generally there is a balance between the two
How are land features modified due to soil erosion?
The running water cuts through the clayey soils and makes deep channels as gullies.
This land becomes unfit for cultivation and is called Bad Land; they are called Ravines in areas of Chambal River
When topsoil is washed due to flow of water as sheets on large areas; it is called Sheet Erosion. Soil is removed like a sheet.
When wind blows away the topsoil; the erosion is said to be wind erosion of soil.
How can soil erosion be prevented?
Defective methods of irrigation and farming can also cause soil erosion; such as ploughing in the wrong way.
Contour Ploughing : To prevent flow of water; ploughing should be done along the contour lines. It reduces the flow of water. This is called contour ploughing.
Terrace Farming and Strip Cropping : Western and central Himalayas have well developed terrace farming. 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.
Shelterbelts : Planting lines of trees to create shelter also works in a similar way. Rows of such trees are called shelter belts. These shelter belts have contributed significantly to the stabilisation of sand dunes and in stabilising the desert in western India