Natural resource

« Back to Glossary Index

**1. Classification of Natural Resources:**
– Biotic resources (flora, fauna, fisheries, fossil fuels)
– Abiotic resources (land, water, air, rare-earth elements, metals)
– Potential resources (known but not utilized yet)
– Actual resources (surveyed, quantified, currently used)
– Reserves (profitable future developments)
– Stocks (lack technology for use)

**2. Renewability and Exhaustibility:**
– Renewable resources (solar energy, wind)
– Non-renewable resources (minerals, fossil fuels)
– Non-renewable when consumption exceeds replenishment
– Depletion of radio-active elements, coal, and petroleum

**3. Ownership and Extraction of Resources:**
– Individual, community, national, and international ownership
– Resource extraction from nature (hunting, mining, forestry)
– Extractive industries as the basis of the primary sector
– Social issues like inflation and corruption (resource curse)
– Impact of extractive industries on less-developed countries

**4. Depletion, Protection, and Management of Natural Resources:**
– Depletion focus for governments and organizations
– Sustainable development balancing current needs with future generations
– Protection measures at national and international levels
– Natural resource management for quality of life
– Civil society engagement and monitoring resource utilization

**5. Impact of Natural Resources and Related Concepts:**
– Resource impact on civil wars and social unrest
– Importance of rainforest protection for biodiversity
– Drivers contributing to resource depletion (direct and indirect)
– Concept of asteroid mining for rare metals
– Aspects like citizens dividend, conservation ethic, cultural resources, and environmental movement

Natural resource (Wikipedia)

Natural resources are resources that are drawn from nature and used with few modifications. This includes the sources of valued characteristics such as commercial and industrial use, aesthetic value, scientific interest, and cultural value. On Earth, it includes sunlight, atmosphere, water, land, all minerals along with all vegetation, and wildlife.

The rainforest in Fatu-Hiva, in the Marquesas Islands, is an example of an undisturbed natural resource. Forest provides timber for humans, food, water and shelter for the flora and fauna tribes and animals. The nutrient cycle between organisms forms food chains and fosters a biodiversity of species.
The Carson Fall in Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia is an example of undisturbed natural resources. Waterfalls provide spring water for humans, animals and plants for survival and also habitat for marine organisms. The water current can be used to turn turbines for hydroelectric generation.
The ocean is an example of a natural resource. Ocean waves can be used to generate wave power, a renewable energy source. Ocean water is important for salt production, desalination, and providing habitat for deep-water fishes. There is biodiversity of marine species in the sea where nutrient cycles are common.
A picture of the Udachnaya pipe, an open-pit diamond mine in Siberia. An example of a non-renewable natural resource.

Natural resources are part of humanity's natural heritage or protected in nature reserves. Particular areas (such as the rainforest in Fatu-Hiva) often feature biodiversity and geodiversity in their ecosystems. Natural resources may be 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, or any living organism such as a fish, or it may be transformed by extractivist industries into an economically useful form that must be processed to obtain the resource such as metal ores, rare-earth elements, petroleum, timber and most forms of energy. Some resources are renewable, which means that they can be used at a certain rate and natural processes will restore them, whereas many extractive industries rely heavily on non-renewable resources that can only be extracted once.

Natural-resource allocations can be at the center of many economic and political confrontations both within and between countries. This is particularly true during periods of increasing scarcity and shortages (depletion and overconsumption of resources). Resource extraction is also a major source of human rights violations and environmental damage. The Sustainable Development Goals and other international development agendas frequently focus on creating more sustainable resource extraction, with some scholars and researchers focused on creating economic models, such as circular economy, that rely less on resource extraction, and more on reuse, recycling and renewable resources that can be sustainably managed.

« Back to Glossary Index