• Written By Manisha Minni
  • Last Modified 24-01-2023

Introduction to Natural Resources: Types, Importance, Threats


Introduction to Natural Resources: Do you know why we call our planet Mother Earth? Earth nourishes us like a mother with many natural resources. These resources are used for the sustenance and welfare of humanity. Earth is considered a home for many life forms, and to sustain life on Earth, we need some resources that we derive from nature. These resources are called natural resources. Humans use these resources in their day-to-day life.

Some of the essential resources like air, water, and food are the basic needs of humans. In this article, students shall learn more about natural resources, the ways to conserve natural resources, types of natural resources, and more. Read the below article to learn more about natural resources, its examples and other important information.

Introduction to Natural Resources: Meaning and Types

Natural resources are substances or materials from nature that humans use to sustain life. These resources are naturally available on Earth without any human action. Natural resources have economic, ecological, scientific, aesthetic, and cultural values in human life.

Definition of Natural Resources
Fig: Natural Resources

What are Natural Resources?

Any natural substance that occurs in nature and is used by humans for survival can be considered a natural resource. Natural resources include oil, coal, natural gas, metals, stone, and sand. Other natural resources from nature are air, sunlight, soil, and water.

Types of Natural Resources

Natural resources are of two types:
1. Renewable Resources or Exhaustible Resources: Renewable resources are substances available in large amounts in nature. These resources are infinite and can be repeatedly used—for example, water, air, sunlight, etc.
2. Non-Renewable Resources or Inexhaustible Resources: These resources are also available in nature but are limited. They may end after continuous usage—for example, oil and natural gas, minerals, coal, etc.

Renewable and Non-renewable Natural Resources
Fig: Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy Sources

Management of Natural Resources: Renewable and Non-Renewable

The difference between renewable and non-renewable resources are mentioned below:

Basis of ClassificationRenewable ResourcesNon-Renewable Resources
DefinitionThese resources are naturally available in large amounts and can be used again and again.These resources are available in limited amounts so cannot be used again and again.
DepletionThese resources can never be exhausted.These are energy resources and will be depleted over time.
Environmental ImpactThey have low carbon emissions, so they are environmentally friendly.They have high carbon emissions and can harm the environment.
CostThese resources have a very low cost.These resources have a high cost.
Area RequirementsA large area is required for the installation of its power plant.A small area is required for the installation of its power plant.
SourcesExamples: Solar energy, Tidal energy, and Wind energy.Examples: Coal, Oil and natural gas, and Minerals.

Examples of Natural Resources

Humans use a lot of natural resources to survive in a continually developing world. Some examples of natural resources and products that are used by humans in their day-to-day life are mentioned in the table below:

Natural ResourcesProducts
AirOxygen, wind energy
WaterDrinking, household, industries, etc.
SunlightSolar energy
TreePaper, timber, fuel, food products, etc.
Oil and Natural GasFuel
Iron OreSteel products
Bauxite OreAluminium products
CopperWires, coins, electrical products, etc.
ManganeseSteel, cast iron, etc.
CobaltEngines of aircraft, steel, cutting tools, etc.
ChromiumStainless steel, leather treatment, green glass, etc.
DiamondsJewellery, mechanical equipment, etc.
AnimalsFood, wool, milk, etc.
Natural Resources Examples
Fig: Natural Resources

Natural Resources of India

India is a large country, and it is rich in many natural resources and minerals. Please take a look at some important facts mentioned below:
1. India is an agricultural country, and around \({\rm{1,945,355 \;k}}{{\rm{m}}^{\rm{2}}}\) of its area is used for cultivation.
2. In India, the water surface area is \({\rm{360,400 \;k}}{{\rm{m}}^{\rm{2}}}{\rm{.}}\)
3. The major mineral resources of India are coal, iron ore, manganese ore, mica, bauxite, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, limestone, thorium, etc.
4. India’s oil reserves are found in Bombay High off the coast of Maharashtra, Gujrat, Rajasthan, and Eastern Assam.

Importance of Natural Resources

Natural resources are essential for the survival and development of humankind on this Earth. The importance of natural resources in human life are mentioned below:

  1. They provide us with oxygen to breathe.
  2. The land is used for cultivation and growing food products.
  3. Sunlight gives us solar energy, an important alternative energy source.
  4. Oil and natural gas give us fuel used in many industries and vehicles.
  5. Minerals are used as fuel and steel-like coal, iron ore, etc.
  6. Valuable materials like gold, and diamonds used for the jewellery industry and many mechanical types of equipment.
  7. Forest provides us with food, timber, and fuel, and it is a shelter for many living organisms.
  8. Natural resources help in industrialisation and urbanisation.
  9. Dams built on rivers prevent floods, proper irrigation, development of fishing industry, and electricity generation.

Threats to Natural Resources

These are the following threats that are responsible for the destruction of natural resources:
1. Overpopulation: The increase in population is the primary threat to natural resources because of the rise in the number of people; more land has been used for housing and development, so many forests and vegetation land have been converted for accommodations and making roads and farms. Overpopulation harms natural resources. 

2. Over Exploitation: Overexploitation of natural resources can result in resource destruction, including extinction. An increase in population has resulted in the overconsumption of natural resources. Industrial development is also a significant reason for the overconsumption of natural resources. 

3. Climate Change: Severe climate change has affected natural resources, especially change in rainfall cycle affects plant growth cycle, agricultural growth, and soil health. Without timely rain or high temperature, it is a risk of drought and forest fire. It decreases forest productivity.

4. Environmental Pollution: Pollution has affected natural resources like land, air, and water causing environmental pollution. It also affects the chemical composition of the soil, rocks, freshwater, and underground water, which destroys natural resources.

Threats to Natural Resources
Fig: Threats to Natural Resources

Conservation of Natural Resources

Conservation of natural resources is a procedure of protection and skilful management to preserve the resources provided by nature. The methods that can be used to conserve the natural resources are mentioned below:
1. Reduce, reuse and recycle. The \({\rm{R3}}\) should always be followed.
2. We should take part as volunteers in cleanups in our community.
3. Water should not be wasted, and rainwater should be harvested for future use.
4. Ponds and lakes should be kept clean, and digging should be done more often.
5. Dams and water reservoirs should be built.
6. Deforestation should be stopped.
7. Natural resources should be used more efficiently.
8. Public awareness of the importance of natural resource conservation should be developed.
9. Use of alternative forms of energy should be developed.
10. Plantation of trees should be practised.
11. Pollution should be controlled by using electric vehicles and alternative forms of energy.
12. Laws on the preservation of natural resources should be strictly implemented.


Natural Resources are materials available in nature without human action and play a significant role in the survival and development of humankind. Humans use these resources to exist on Earth. Natural resources are of two types: renewable and non-renewable resources. Air, water, land, and minerals are some natural resources used directly or indirectly by men in their daily lives. The increase in population and over-exploitation have threatened the end of some of these natural resources. So, it is our moral duty to preserve natural resources and use them to be saved for future generations.

FAQs on Introduction to Natural Resources

Q.1: What are natural resources?
Natural resources are the materials that are produced by nature and used by humans for survival.

Q.2: What are the four examples of natural resources?
The four examples of natural resources are oil and natural gas, water, soil, and sunlight.

Q.3: What are the two types of natural resources?
The two types of natural resources are renewable natural resources and non-renewable natural resources.

Q4. What is the importance of natural resources?
The importance of natural resources are: (1) forest provides us with food, timber, fuel, and shelter, (2) air provide us with oxygen to breathe, (3) land is used for cultivation and growing food products, (4) sunlight gives us solar energy which is an important alternative source of energy, etc.

Q.5: What are the characteristics of natural resources?
The characteristics of natural resources are utility, limited availability, and potential for depletion or consumption.

Q.6: What are the uses of natural resources?
The uses of natural resources are cultivation and growing food products, source of energy, electricity generation, fuels for industries and vehicles, industrialisation and urbanisation, etc.

Q.7: What are the most important natural resources?
The most important natural resources are air, water, land, and minerals.

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