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Conservation of Natural Resources


Man is living in an age of advanced science and technology. Despite all these advancements, he has not been able to fulfil all his needs; therefore, he is exploiting nature more and more. This has resulted in the degradation of natural resources. Fortunately, man has realised that this degradation disturbs the harmonious balance in nature. This awareness has made him undertake campaigns for the conservation of natural resources all over the world.

Conservation is the judicious use of natural resources
. It is the prevention of misuse and wastage of natural resources and also improving the quality and usefulness of natural resources.

Forests and their conservation
Forests constitute the major habitat for plants and animals on the lithosphere. They are of immense importance in maintaining the natural balance, providing shelter to wildlife, providing the commercial products for human usage and in regulating the natural processes such as rainfall and weather changes. The forest, because of their immense importance to life on earth, needs to be conserved by us. Conservation of forests can be done by the following methods:

  1. Promoting the practices of afforestation such as ‘Chipko Movement’, 1970.
  2. Selective cutting of trees for timber or firewood and their immediate replacement by planting their seedlings.
  3. Keeping a check on forest fires and protecting the vegetation from pests and insects.
  4. Taking steps to control overgrazing.
  5. Adoption of 3-R formula of refuse, recycle and reuse.

Wildlife and its conservation All the uncultivated plants and non-domesticated animals are together described as wildlife. Wildlife promotes afforestation, contributes to maintenance of biodiversity and maintains the ecobalance. It also promotes economic development through tourism.

Conservation of wildlife can be done by the following methods:

  1. Protection of wildlife in their habitat and improving natural habitats.
  2. Game farming, breeding of wild animals in captivity and releasing them to their original habitats.
  3. Establishment of sanctuaries and national parks.
  4. Restriction of hunting and poaching of animals by strict legislation.
  5. Educating the public by observing wildlife week.
  6. Enforcing wildlife action plans and projects through government and non-government organisations.

Water and its conservation Water is one of the most important natural resources. The main source of water is rain. When there is rainfall on earth, a part of it evaporates, a part of it flows into drains, rivers and lakes, but a very small part of it percolates into ground. The percolated water is available to us as ground water. In the past few years, wells and tube wells had to be dug deeper to get water. This is because the ground water is being used faster than it is being replenished by rain. This leads to ground water depletion. The reasons for depletion are increase in population, improper use of water, floods, droughts, pollution, indiscriminate drilling of borewells, increased industrial consumption, destroying vegetation by overgrazing and destruction of forests.

The various practices involved in conserving water include:

  1. Preventing wastage of potable water by using it wisely and judiciously.
  2. Using better methods of irrigation in fields.
  3. Treatment of industrial and domestic waste water in the sewage plants where the water is filtered and treated with chemicals to kill the germs.
  4. Water harvesting mainly by collecting the rain water.

Soil and its conservation Soil is important for the sustenance of plant life with their roots embedded into it, to absorb water and minerals and to provide anchorage to the plant. It is also a habitat for different living organisms ranging from bacteria to burrowing animals such as earthworms. Any change in its form affects both plants and other organisms living in it. There are many human activities which have led to the destruction of soil structure such as deforestation that has encouraged soil erosion, flooding or excessive irrigation of fields and the application of excessive chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

It is important to conserve the soil to protect it from being eroded and contaminated by not dumping the domestic or industrial waste on its surface, refraining from the practice of deforestation and avoiding an excessive use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides in fields.

Mineral resources and its conservation
Minerals are non-living, non-renewable resources. Coal, petroleum, iron, copper, lead etc. are very precious natural resources. Over-exploitation and misuse of these resources should strictly be prohibited.

Conservation of minerals can be done by the following methods:

  1. Economic use of minerals by avoiding wastage.
  2. Recycling of metal wastes.

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