Classification of Natural Resources
- Natural resources can be further classified on the basis of their origin, development, renewability and distribution .
On the basis of Origin
- Natural resources can be classified into biotic resources and abiotic resources based on their origin.
Biotic resources are also known as
. They include
plants, animals and microorganisms
. Most of the biotic resources have the capacity to
, provided the environmental conditions are favourable. Thus, they are
- Abiotic resources are obtained from physical or non-living environment . Land, water, air, minerals and power resources are abiotic resources. These resources can be exhausted by excessive use . Their total reserve cannot be increased by human effort. Thus, they are non-renewable . Their usefulness depends upon their value and accessibility .
On the basis of Development
- Natural resources can be classified into potential resources and actual or developed resources based on their development.
are those resources whose total available quantity is not known at present. These resources are not used at present, but can be used in the future. Potential resources need detailed surveys for the estimation of their quantity and quality. For example, Africa has great potential for the generation of hydroelectricity.
- Actual or developed resources are those resources whose total quantity and quality are at present known. Surveys had been conducted to find out their total available reserve. A part of the actual resources can be developed. For example, wind blowing at a high speed was a potential resource about 200 years ago. Today, a number of windmills have been installed in many parts of the world to harness wind energy.
On the basis of Renewability
- Natural resources can be classified into renewable resources and non-renewable resources based on their renewability.
are those resources which can be renewed by reproduction or by physical, mechanical or chemical processes. Some of these resources are unlimited, like solar and wind energy. These are called
Their quantity is not affected by human activities. The biotic resources are also renewable. They can be renewed under favourable environmental conditions.
- Non-renewable resources are those resources which are available in fixed quantities, like minerals and fossil fuels. These resources once exhausted cannot be replaced. Most of the non-living things, which satisfy human wants are non-renewable as the natural process of their formation is very slow. The rapid population growth creates pressure on such resources.
On the basis of Distribution
- Natural resources can be classified into ubiquitous resources and localized resources based on their distribution.
are those resources that are found everywhere, such as air and sunlight.
- Localized resources are those resources which are found at certain places, such as gold and silver.