A resource is any natural or artificial substance or energy which can be used for the benefits of mankind. Natural resources are those which exist in the environment naturally, that is, they are not created by humans. They are soil, water, sunlight, the wind, plants, coal etc.
Natural resources are classified further into exhaustible and inexhaustible resources. Exhaustible resources are those which are limited and will be exhausted with continuous usage, for example, coal, natural gas etc. whereas inexhaustible resources are those which cannot be depleted by human consumption, for example, wind power and water power etc.,
As the population of the world is increasing at an alarming rate, the consumption of natural resources is also increasing. Hence, these resources should be conserved to maintain ecological balance and save them for future generations. The proper management of a resource to prevent its destruction or exploitation is called conservation.
Nature provides us with all the essentials for our daily needs. Due to overpopulation and human negligence we started to over-exploit our resources. If this continues, there will no resources left for our future generation. The need to conserve the resources are
To support life by supporting ecological balance
To ensure that the future generations will be able to access the resources
To preserve the biodiversity
To make sure human race survives.
Reforestation: Planting trees helps in reducing soil erosion.
Terracing: Terrace farming helps to control the fast flow of water which takes away soil with its flow. It is usually practised in hilly areas.
Soil fertility: Maintenance of soil fertility is obtained by adding manure or fertilizers or even by crop rotation.
Rainwater Harvesting: It is the process of storing rainwater.
Treatment of Industrial Wastes: The chemical wastes must be treated before releasing them into the water bodies.
Dams and Reservoirs: Dams help to store water and supply them when needed. They also help in producing energy.
Growing Flora: It helps to prevent the flow of water and makes it sink into the soil increasing groundwater levels.
These include coal, biomass natural gas etc. These are exploited every day in one form or the other. Natural gas is commonly used for cooking and coal is the main source of electricity. Petroleum products are used to run automobiles. These are being consumed daily at a tremendous rate. Thus an urgent need to conserve energy resources is needed as they are non-renewable. The following steps can help in their conservation biomass using energy.
Promoting green technology like solar panels and other renewable sources of energy.
Minimize the over-exploitation of these non-renewable energy resources.
Spreading awareness among people about the need for conservation.
In-situ: Protecting plants and animals within their natural habitats is called In-situ conservation. For example- National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries etc.
Ex-situ: Protecting the plants and animals outside their natural habitat is called Ex-situ conservation. They include Seed Banks, Pollen Banks, Botanical Gardens, Zoo, Gene Banks etc.