Skip to main content.
Enviropaedia Sponsors and Supporters

Natural Resources

( Article Type: Explanation )

‘Natural resources’ is the term used to describe the basic materials and resources that are produced through the earth’s own inherent natural processes and systems. They include the planet’s air, water, and land; nutrients, minerals and resources in the soil; wild and domesticated plants and animals and the entire range of nature’s natural systems for waste disposal, purification, dilution, recycling abilities and pest control. Humankind must be sensitive to the use and management of renewable and non-renewable natural resources. If renewable resources such as fish stocks are not used in a sustainable manner (i.e. they are over-fished and extracted or utilised beyond their capacity to recover from the harvest), they are doomed to become non-renewable resources, resulting ultimately in extinction.

Non-renewable resources have a basic point where their reserves will run out. Non-renewable resources must be used wisely and economically to try to stretch their life span a little longer. For example, it is currently estimated that there are approximately 200 years of reserves of oil on earth at present. If those reserves are made to last longer, then not only will they be available longer but there may also be a chance that a suitable alternative may be discovered.

Associated Sustainable Development Articles: