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Types of Resources


Natural Resources


Natural resources are naturally occurring substances that have considered valuable in their natural form. A natural resource's value rests in the amount of the material available and the demand for it.


Let us look at some of the natural resources.

  • The air we breathe.
  • The water we drink.
  • The land we live on and cultivate grains.
  • The minerals that we extract from the earth.
  • The sunshine that is essential for life.
  • These natural resources are drawn from nature and used without much alteration. They are free gifts from nature and can be used by man directly.

    Natural Resources are classified into different categories depending on various factors. They are:

    • Natural resources that need development.
    • The origin of the natural resources.
    • The availability and distribution of the resources.

    Natural Resources that need development


    Natural resources which need development can be further divided into:

  • Actual Resources
  • Potential Resources
  • Actual Resources

  • Actual Resources are those which have been surveyed, their quantity and quality determined and are being used in present times.

  • The petroleum and the natural gas which is obtained from the Mumbai High Fields and West Asia.
  • The rich deposits of coal in Ruhr region of Germany.
  • Dark soils of the Deccan plateau in Maharashtra.

  • Mumbai High Fields


    The Mumbai High basin is situated in the Arabian Sea, about 160 km off the Mumbai coast. Ever since its discovery in 1974, it has remained the largest producer of oil in the country. The Mumbai High Basin is 75 km long and stretches across 25 km. The field has more than 551 oil wells and 33 gas wells.

    The development of an actual resource, such as wood processing depends upon available technology and the cost involved. That part of the actual resource which can be developed profitably with available technology is called a reserve.

    Potential Resources

  • Potential Resources - Potential resources are resources which exist in a region and which can be used in the future.

  • Mineral oil may exist in many parts of India where sedimentary rocks are found but till it is actually drilled out and put into use, it remains a potential resource.
  • The uranium found in Ladakh is potential resource that could be used in the future.
  • High speed winds were a potential resource two hundred years ago. Today they are an actual resource and wind farms generate energy using windmills like in Netherlands, Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu and on the Gujarat coast.

  • Wind Power


    Wind power is the fastest-growing energy source in the world. A wind turbine works the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, a turbine uses wind to make electricity

    The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft, which connects to a generator and makes electricity. The electricity is sent through transmission and distribution lines to a substation, then on to homes, business houses and schools.


    Wind turbines do not have any adverse effect on the environmental. That’s why wind power is gaining popularity. It is also becoming economically competitive with more conventional power sources – a fact that’s greatly improving its prospects as a viable energy source.

    The Origin of the Natural Resource


    Now let us move on to the second classification of natural resources that is based on the origin of the natural resource.

    Here again the resources is divided into two categories:-
  • Abiotic Natural Resource
  • Biotic Natural Resource
  • Abiotic Natural Resource:

    Abiotic resources comprise of non-living things like land, water, air and minerals such as gold, iron, copper and silver.

  • Abiotic resources are not renewable, as they can be exhausted by excessive use and their rate of formation is very slow.
  • The usefulness of the abiotic resources depends upon their accessibility and their value.
  • Their total reserve cannot be increased by human efforts.
  • These resources are in great demand for the development of industries
  • Biotic Natural Resource:
    Biotic resources are the ones which are obtained from the biosphere. Forests and their products, animals, birds and their products, fish and other marine organisms are examples of biotic natural resources. Minerals such as coal and petroleum are also included in this category as they were formed from decayed organic matter.




    The biosphere includes the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the lithosphere and the ecosphere.

    • The atmosphere is the air around us.
    • The hydrosphere is the accumulation of water in all its states.
    • The lithosphere is the thin crust between the mantle and the atmosphere.
    • The ecosphere is the set of all living organisms, including animals and vegetation.

    The availability and distribution of the resource

    The third classification of natural resources depends on its availability and can be divided further into …

  • Renewable Resource
  • Non-renewable resource
  • Renewable Resources:

    Renewable resources are resources which can be replaced or reproduced easily. Sunlight, air and wind are resources that are continuously available and their quantity is not affected by human consumption.

    Many renewable resources can be depleted by human use, but are replaced and the balance is maintained. For example agricultural crops, take a short time for renewal; others, like water, take a comparatively longer time, while still others, like forests, take even longer.


    Non-renewable Resources:

    Non-renewable resources are formed over very long geological periods. Minerals and fossils are included in this category. Since their rate of formation is extremely slow, they cannot be replenished once they get depleted. Metallic minerals can be re-used by recycling while coal and petroleum cannot be recycled.

  • These resources get exhausted after use and they do not get renewed with in the lifespan of a human being.
  • Due to the development of industries in many countries of the world, the demand for mineral resources is fast increasing.
  • The rapid growth of population is also contributing to an increased demand and production.
  • Continuous mining can exhaust the ores. We cannot increase or replace the mineral reserves, as the natural process is slow.
  • Soils are also exhaustible as it is extremely difficult to replace the eroded soil.
  • Natural resources are also classified as ubiquitous and localized resources based on their distribution

    • Natural resources that are found every where are called ubiquitous resources, like air.
    • Natural resources that found in a particular place are called localized resource like copper or iron ore.


    The distribution of natural resources depends upon a number of physical factors like terrain, climate and altitude. The distribution of resources is unequal because these factors differ so much over the earth.

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