Mineral Resources

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UNIT 2:

Natural Resources

2.1 INTRODUCTION 2.2 RENEWABLE AND NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCES 2.2.1 Natural resources and associated problems 2.2.2 Non-renewable resources 2.2.3 Renewable resources a. Forest Resources: Use and over-exploitation, deforestation, case studies. Timber extraction, mining, dams and their effects on forests and tribal people b. Water Resources: Use and over-utilisation of surface and ground water, floods, drought, conflicts over water, dams – benefits and problems. c. Mineral Resources: Use and exploitation, environmental effects of extracting and using mineral resources, case studies.

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d. Food Resources: World food problems, Changes in landuse by agriculture and grazing, Effects of modern agriculture, Fertilizer/ pesticide problems, Water logging and salinity e. Energy Resources: Increasing energy needs, Renewable/ non renewable, Use of Alternate energy sources, Case studies f. Land resources: Land as a resource, land degradation, man-induced land-slides, soil erosion and desertification.

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2.3 ROLE OF AN INDIVIDUAL IN CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES 2.4 EQUITABLE USE OF RESOURCES FOR SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES

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Natural Resources

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2.1 INTRODUCTION Our environment provides us with a variety of goods and services necessary for our day to day lives. These natural resources include, air, water, soil, minerals, along with the climate and solar energy, which form the non-living or ‘abiotic’ part of nature. The ‘biotic’ or living parts of nature consists of plants and animals, including microbes. Plants and animals can only survive as communities of different organisms, all closely linked to each in their own habitat, and requiring specific abiotic conditions. Thus, forests, grasslands, deserts, mountains, rivers, lakes and the marine environment all form habitats for specialised communities of plants and animals to live in. Interactions between the abiotic aspects of nature and specific living organisms together form ecosystems of various types. Many of these living organisms are used as our food resources. Others are linked to our food less directly, such as pollinators and dispersers of plants, soil animals like worms, which recycle nutrients for plant growth, and fungi and termites that break up dead plant material so that micro-organisms can act on the detritus to reform soil nutrients.

History of our global environment: About ten thousand years ago, when mankind changed from a hunter-gatherer, living in wilderness areas such as forests and grasslands, into an agriculturalist and pastoralist, we began to change the environment to suit our own requirements. As our ability to grow food and use domestic animals grew, these ‘natural’ ecosystems were developed into agricultural land. Most traditional agriculturists depended extensively on rain, streams and rivers for water. Later they began to use wells to tap underground water sources and to impound water and created irrigated land by building dams. Recently we began to use fertilizers and pesticides to further boost the production of food from the same amount of land. However we now realize that all this has led to several undesirable changes in our environment. Mankind has been overusing and depleting natural resources. The over-intensive use of land has been found to exhaust the capability of the ecosystem to support the growing demands of more and more people, all requiring more intensive use of resources. Industrial growth, urbanisation, population growth and the enormous increase in the use of consumer goods, have all put further stresses on the environment. They create great quantities of solid waste. Pollution of air, water and soil have begun to seriously affect human health.

Changes in land and resource use: During the last 100 years, a better health care delivery system and an improved nutritional status has led to rapid population...
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