Natural resources are resources that exist without actions of humankind. This includes all valued characteristics such as magnetic, gravitational, electrical properties and forces etc. On earth it includes: sunlight, atmosphere, water, land (includes all minerals) along with all vegetation, crops and animal life that naturally subsists upon or within the heretofore identified characteristics and substances.
Particular areas such as the rainforest in Fatu-Hiva are often characterized by the biodiversity and geodiversity existent in their ecosystems. Natural resources may be further classified in different ways. Natural resources are materials and components (something that can be used) that can be found within the environment. Every man-made product is composed of natural resources (at its fundamental level). A natural resource may exist as a separate entity such as fresh water, air, and as well as a living organism such as a fish, or it may exist in an alternate form that must be processed to obtain the resource such as metal ores, rare earth metals, petroleum, and most forms of energy.
There is much debate worldwide over natural resource allocations, this is particularly true during periods of increasing scarcity and shortages (depletion and overconsumption of resources).
There are various methods of categorizing natural resources, these include source of origin, stage of development, and by their renewability.
On the basis of origin, natural resources may be divided into two types:
Considering their stage of development, natural resources may be referred to in the following ways:
Many natural resources can be categorized as either renewable or non-renewable:
Resource extraction involves any activity that withdraws resources from nature. This can range in scale from the traditional use of preindustrial societies, to global industry. Extractive industries are, along with agriculture, the basis of the primary sector of the economy. Extraction produces raw material, which is then processed to add value. Examples of extractive industries are hunting, trapping, mining, oil and gas drilling, and forestry. Natural resources can add substantial amounts to a country's wealth, however, a sudden inflow of money caused by a resource boom can create social problems including inflation harming other industries ("Dutch disease") and corruption, leading to inequality and underdevelopment, this is known as the "resource curse".
Extractive industries represent a large growing activity in many less-developed countries but the wealth generated does not always lead to sustainable and inclusive growth. People often accuse extractive industry businesses as acting only to maximize short-term value, implying that less-developed countries are vulnerable to powerful corporations. Alternatively, host governments are often assumed to be only maximizing immediate revenue. Researchers argue there are areas of common interest where development goals and business cross. These present opportunities for international governmental agencies to engage with the private sector and host governments through revenue management and expenditure accountability, infrastructure development, employment creation, skills and enterprise development and impacts on children, especially girls and women. A strong civil society can play an important role in ensuring effective management of natural resources. Norway can serve as a role model in this regard as it has good institutions and open and dynamic public debate with strong civil society actors that provide an effective checks and balances system for government's management of extractive industries.
In recent years, the depletion of natural resources has become a major focus of governments and organizations such as the United Nations (UN). This is evident in the UN's Agenda 21 Section Two, which outlines the necessary steps for countries to take to sustain their natural resources. The depletion of natural resources is considered a sustainable development issue. The term sustainable development has many interpretations, most notably the Brundtland Commission's 'to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs', however in broad terms it is balancing the needs of the planet's people and species now and in the future. In regards to natural resources, depletion is of concern for sustainable development as it has the ability to degrade current environments and potential to impact the needs of future generations.
Depletion of natural resources is associated with social inequity. Considering most biodiversity are located in developing countries, depletion of this resource could result in losses of ecosystem services for these countries. Some view this depletion as a major source of social unrest and conflicts in developing nations.
At present, there is particular concern for rainforest regions that hold most of the Earth's biodiversity. According to Nelson deforestation and degradation affect 8.5% of the world's forests with 30% of the Earth's surface already cropped. If we consider that 80% of people rely on medicines obtained from plants and ¾ of the world's prescription medicines have ingredients taken from plants, loss of the world's rainforests could result in a loss of finding more potential life saving medicines.
The depletion of natural resources is caused by 'direct drivers of change' such as Mining, petroleum extraction, fishing and forestry as well as 'indirect drivers of change' such as demography (e.g. population growth), economy, society, politics and technology. The current practice of Agriculture is another factor causing depletion of natural resources. For example, the depletion of nutrients in the soil due to excessive use of nitrogen and desertification. The depletion of natural resources is a continuing concern for society. This is seen in the cited quote given by Theodore Roosevelt, a well-known conservationist and former United States president, who was opposed to unregulated natural resource extraction.
In 1982, the UN developed the World Charter for Nature, which recognized the need to protect nature from further depletion due to human activity. It states that measures must be taken at all societal levels, from international to individual, to protect nature. It outlines the need for sustainable use of natural resources and suggests that the protection of resources should be incorporated into national and international systems of law. To look at the importance of protecting natural resources further, the World Ethic of Sustainability, developed by the IUCN, WWF and the UNEP in 1990, set out eight values for sustainability, including the need to protect natural resources from depletion. Since the development of these documents, many measures have been taken to protect natural resources including establishment of the scientific field and practice of conservation biology and habitat conservation, respectively.
Conservation biology is the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction. It is an interdisciplinary subject drawing on science, economics and the practice of natural resource management. The term conservation biology was introduced as the title of a conference held at the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla, California, in 1978, organized by biologists Bruce A. Wilcox and Michael E. Soulé.
Habitat conservation is a land management practice that seeks to conserve, protect and restore, habitat areas for wild plants and animals, especially conservation reliant species, and prevent their extinction, fragmentation or reduction in range.
Natural resource management is a discipline in the management of natural resources such as land, water, soil, plants, and animals—with a particular focus on how management affects quality of life for present and future generations. Hence, sustainable development is followed according to judicial use of resources to supply both the present generation and future generations.
Management of natural resources involves identifying who has the right to use the resources and who does not for defining the boundaries of the resource. The resources are managed by the users according to the rules governing of when and how the resource is used depending on local condition.
A "...successful management of natural resources depends on freedom of speech, a dynamic and wide-ranging public debate through multiple independent media channels and an active civil society engaged in natural resource issues...", because of the nature of the shared resources the individuals who are affected by the rules can participate in setting or changing them. The users have rights to devise their own management institutions and plans under the recognition by the government. The right to resources includes land, water, fisheries and pastoral rights. The users or parties accountable to the users have to actively monitor and ensure the utilisation of the resource compliance with the rules and to impose penalty on those peoples who violates the rules. These conflicts are resolved in a quick and low cost manner by the local institution according to the seriousness and context of the offence. The global science-based platform to discuss natural resources management is the World Resources Forum, based in Switzerland.
|Value of natural resources by country (in USD trillions), 2016|
The David Force Natural Resource Area is a 221-acre (89 ha) wildlife area in Ellicott City, Maryland. It is located between Route 70 and 40 adjacent to the Turf Valley development in Howard County, Maryland, and operated by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks.
The resource area was created to protect water quality, provide habitat for wildlife, and support recreational hiking and nature observation purposes.The area is named after David W. Force (1909-1966), a founder of Force and Christhill construction and former Howard County judge who made national headlines for sentencing an African American to lashings in 1951, and later a county commissioner who ran on a slow growth platform on 1962 who was one of three that approved the development of Columbia for The Rouse Company.Ecosystem management
Ecosystem management is a process that aims to conserve major ecological services and restore natural resources while meeting the socioeconomic, political, and cultural needs of current and future generations.The principal objective of ecosystem management is the efficient maintenance and ethical use of natural resources. It is a multifaceted and holistic approach which requires a significant change in how the natural and human environments are identified.
Several approaches to effective ecosystem management engage conservation efforts at both local and landscape levels and involve: adaptive management, natural resource management, strategic management, and command and control management.Environmental mitigation
Environmental mitigation, compensatory mitigation, or mitigation banking, are terms used primarily by the United States government and the related environmental industry to describe projects or programs intended to offset known impacts to an existing historic or natural resource such as a stream, wetland, endangered species, archeological site, paleontological site or historic structure. To "mitigate" means to make less harsh or hostile. Environmental mitigation is typically a part of an environmental crediting system established by governing bodies which involves allocating debits and credits. Debits occur in situations where a natural resource has been destroyed or severely impaired and credits are given in situations where a natural resource has been deemed to be improved or preserved. Therefore, when an entity such as a business or individual has a "debit" they are required to purchase a "credit". In some cases credits are bought from "mitigation banks" which are large mitigation projects established to provide credit to multiple parties in advance of development when such compensation cannot be achieved at the development site or is not seen as beneficial to the environment. Crediting systems can allow credit to be generated in different ways. For example, in the United States, projects are valued based on what the intentions of the project are which may be to preserve, enhance, restore or create (PERC) a natural resource.Environmental resource management
Environmental resource management is the management of the interaction and impact of human societies on the environment. It is not, as the phrase might suggest, the management of the environment itself. Environmental resources management aims to ensure that ecosystem services are protected and maintained for future human generations, and also maintain ecosystem integrity through considering ethical, economic, and scientific (ecological) variables. Environmental resource management tries to identify factors affected by conflicts that rise between meeting needs and protecting resources. It is thus linked to environmental protection, sustainability and integrated landscape management.Environmental studies
Environmental studies is a multidisciplinary academic field which systematically studies human interaction with the environment in the interests of solving complex problems. Environmental studies brings together the principles of the physical sciences, commerce/economics and social sciences so as to solve contemporary environmental problems. It is a broad field of study that includes the natural environment, the built environment, and the sets of relationships between them. The field encompasses study in basic principles of ecology and environmental science, as well as associated subjects such as ethics, geography, anthropology, policy, politics, urban planning, law, economics, philosophy, sociology and social justice, planning, pollution control and natural resource management. There are also many degree programs in Environmental Studies including the Master of Environmental Studies and the Bachelor of Environmental Studies.List of countries by oil exports
This is a list of oil-producing countries by oil exports based on The World Factbook  and other Sources. Many countries also import oil, and some import more oil than they export.Natural Resources Conservation Service
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides technical assistance to farmers and other private landowners and managers.
Its name was changed in 1994 during the presidency of Bill Clinton to reflect its broader mission. It is a relatively small agency, currently comprising about 12,000 employees. Its mission is to improve, protect, and conserve natural resources on private lands through a cooperative partnership with state and local agencies. While its primary focus has been agricultural lands, it has made many technical contributions to soil surveying, classification and water quality improvement. One example is the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), set up to quantify the benefits of agricultural conservation efforts promoted and supported by programs in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill). NRCS is the leading agency in this project.Natural resource economics
Natural resource economics deals with the supply, demand, and allocation of the Earth's natural resources. One main objective of natural resource economics is to better understand the role of natural resources in the economy in order to develop more sustainable methods of managing those resources to ensure their availability to future generations. Resource economists study interactions between economic and natural systems, with the goal of developing a sustainable and efficient economy.Natural resource management
Natural resource management refers to the management of natural resources such as land, water, soil, plants and animals, with a particular focus on how management affects the quality of life for both present and future generations (stewardship).
Natural resource management deals with managing the way in which people and natural landscapes interact. It brings together land use planning, water management, biodiversity conservation, and the future sustainability of industries like agriculture, mining, tourism, fisheries and forestry. It recognises that people and their livelihoods rely on the health and productivity of our landscapes, and their actions as stewards of the land play a critical role in maintaining this health and productivity.Natural resource management specifically focuses on a scientific and technical understanding of resources and ecology and the life-supporting capacity of those resources. Environmental management is also similar to natural resource management. In academic contexts, the sociology of natural resources is closely related to, but distinct from, natural resource management.Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is an agency of the government of the U.S. state of Oregon responsible for programs protecting Oregon fish and wildlife resources and their habitats.
The agency operates hatcheries, issues hunting and angling licenses, advises on habitat protection, and sponsors public education programs. Its history dates to the 1878 establishment of the office of Columbia River Fish Warden. Since 1931, enforcement of Oregon's Fish and Game laws has been the responsibility of the Oregon State Police rather than separate wardens.Resource-based economy
A resource-based or natural-resource-based economy is that of a country whose gross national product or gross domestic product to a large extent comes from natural resources.Resource curse
The resource curse, also known as the paradox of plenty, refers to the paradox that countries with an abundance of natural resources (such as fossil fuels and certain minerals), tend to have less economic growth, less democracy, and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources. There are many theories and much academic debate about the reasons for, and exceptions to, these adverse outcomes. Most experts believe the resource curse is not universal or inevitable, but affects certain types of countries or regions under certain conditions.Resource depletion
Resource depletion is the consumption of a resource faster than it can be replenished. Natural resources are commonly divided between renewable resources and non-renewable resources (see also mineral resource classification). Use of either of these forms of resources beyond their rate of replacement is considered to be resource depletion. The value of a resource is a direct result of its availability in nature and the cost of extracting the resource, the more a resource is depleted the more the value of the resource increases. There are several types of resource depletion the most known being; Aquifer depletion, deforestation, mining for fossil fuels and minerals, pollution or contamination of resources, slash-and-burn agricultural practices, Soil erosion, and overconsumption, excessive or unnecessary use of resources.
Resource depletion is most commonly used in reference to farming, fishing, mining, water usage, and consumption of fossil fuels. Depletion of wildlife populations is called defaunation.Soil conservation
Soil conservation is the prevention of soil loss from erosion or prevention of reduced fertility caused by over usage, acidification, salinization or other chemical soil contamination.
Slash-and-burn and other unsustainable methods of subsistence farming are practiced in some lesser developed areas. A sequel to the deforestation is typically large scale erosion, loss of soil nutrients and sometimes total desertification. Techniques for improved soil conservation include crop rotation, cover crops, conservation tillage and planted windbreaks, affect both erosion and fertility. When plants, especially trees, die they decay and become part of the soil. Code 330 defines standard methods recommended by the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Farmers have practiced soil conservation for millennia. In Europe, policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy are targeting the application of best management practices such as reduced tillage, winter cover crops, plant residues and grass margins in order to better address the soil conservation.Political and economic action is further required to solve the erosion problem. A simple governance hurdle concerns how we name and value the land and what we call it and this can be changed by cultural adaptation.Stewardship
Stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. The concepts of stewardship can be applied to the environment and nature, economics, health, property, information, theology, etc.United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
The United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has jurisdiction over matters related to energy and nuclear waste policy, territorial policy, native Hawaiian matters, and public lands.
Its roots go back to the Committee on Interior and Insulars Affair. In 1977, it became the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Indian Affairs were removed from its jurisdiction into its own committee.University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) is one of seventeen colleges
and professional schools at the University of Minnesota. The college offers 13 majors, 3 pre-major and pre-professional majors and 26 freestanding minors for undergraduate students and a variety of graduate study options that include master's, doctoral and joint degree programs.Washington Natural Areas Program
The Washington Natural Areas Program, part of the Washington Department of Natural Resources, manages dozens of natural areas owned by the U.S. state of Washington. These areas have received funding through the state's general fund since the Washington State Legislature enacted the Natural Areas Preserve Act in 1972. As of January 2010, there are 52 Natural Area Preserves and 29 Natural Resources Conservation Areas. The program's goals are to protect rare and outstanding examples of Washington's widely varied ecosystems, maintain the state's biological diversity, support education and scientific research, and provide public opportunities for low-impact recreation.Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area
Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area is a natural reserve in Olympia, Washington protected under the Washington Natural Areas Program. Once an important processing facility for the logging industry, it has been designated as the Weyerhaeuser South Bay Log Dump Rural Historic Landscape. Today the area is a renowned sanctuary for a variety of birds, harbor seals, river otters, bald eagles, and a colony of bats, as well as serving as an important great blue heron rookery. A recent conservation program in the area between the State of Washington and the Nature Conservancy is the first of its kind in the country.