Natural resources are derived from the environment. Some of them are essential for our survival while most are used for satisfying our needs. Natural resources may be further 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, and air, as well as a living organism such as a fish, or it may exist in an alternate form which must be processed to obtain the resource such as metal ores, oil, and most forms of energy.
There is much debate worldwide over natural resource allocations, this is partly due to increasing scarcity (depletion of resources) but also because the exportation of natural resources is the basis for many economies (particularly for developed nations such as Australia).
Some natural resources such as sunlight and air can be found everywhere, and are known as ubiquitous resources. However, most resources only occur in small sporadic areas, and are referred to as localized resources. There are very few resources that are considered inexhaustible (will not run out in foreseeable future) – these are solar radiation, geothermal energy, and air (though access to clean air may not be). The vast majority of resources are exhaustible, which means they have a finite quantity, and can be depleted if managed improperly.
There are various methods of categorizing natural resources, these include source of origin, stage of development, and by their renewability. These classifications are described below. On the basis of origin, resources may be divided into: