The term “resource” means anything that we use from our environment to achieve our objective. For example, we require bricks, cement, iron, wood etc. to construct a building. All these items are called the resources for construction of building. Are source can be defined as „any natural or artificial substance, energy or organism, which is used by human being for its welfare. These resources are of two types: 1.Natural resources
CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES the human population is continuously growing the consumption of natural resources is also increasing. With the increasing industrialization and urbanization of the modern human society, the use of all the resources is rising. If they are not properly used and well managed, a serious scarcity will result. Therefore we need to conserve the natural resources. This will also upset the ecological balance. Conservation is the proper management of a natural resource to prevent its exploitation, destruction or degradation. Conservation is the sum total of activities, which canderive benefits from natural resources but at the same time prevents excessive use leading to destruction or degradation. Need for Conservation of Natural Resources We know that nature provides us all our basic needs but we tend to overexploit it. If we go on exploiting the nature, there will be no more resources available in future.
There is an urgent need to conserve the nature. Some of the needs are: to maintain ecological balance for supporting life.To preserve different kinds of species (biodiversity).To make the resources available for present and future generation.To ensure the survival of human race. Conservation of Natural Resources and Traditions of India. The need for conservation of natural resources was felt by our predecessors and in India; there was a tradition of respecting and preserving the nature and natural resources. Natural resources were conserved in the form of sacred groves/forests, sacred pools and lakes, sacred species etc. In our country the conservation of natural forests is known from the time of Lord Asoka. Sacred forests are forest patches of different dimensions dedicated by the tribal to their deities and ancestral spirits. Cutting down trees, hunting and other human interferences were strictly prohibited in these forests.
This practice is wide spread particularly in peninsular, central and eastern India and has resulted in the protection of a large number of plants and animals and. Similarly, several water bodies, e.g., Khecheopalri Lake in Sikkim was declared sacred by people, thus, protecting aquatic flora and fauna. Worshipping certain plants like banyan, peepal, tulsi etc. has not only preserved them but also encouraged us for their plantation. History recalls numerous instances where people have laid down their lives in protecting the trees. Recent Chipko movement in India is one of the best examples. This movement was started by the women in Gopeshwar village in Garhwal in the Himalayas. They stopped the felling of trees by hugging them when the lumbermen arrived to cut them. This saved about 12000 square kilometers of the sensitive water catchment Conservation of Soil In the previous section we learnt about the various causes of soil erosion. Soil loses its fertility due to erosion.
So we need to conserve the soil. Soil conservation means checking soil erosion and improving soil fertility by adopting various methods. Let us know some of thesemethods.1. Maintenance of soil fertility: The fertility can be maintained by adding manure and fertilizers regularly as well as by rotation of crop.2. Control on grazing: Grazing should be allowed only on the areas meant for it and not on agricultural land.3. Reforestation: Planting of trees and vegetation reduces soil erosion by both water and wind.4. Terracing: Dividing a slope into several flat fields to control rapid runoff water. It is practiced mostly in hilly areas.5. Contour ploughing: Ploughing at right angles to the slope allows the furrows to trap water and check soil erosion by rain water. Conservation of Water Conservation and management of water are essential for the survival of mankind, plants and animals.
This can be achieved adopting the following methods: 1. Growing vegetation in the catchment areas, which will hold water in the soil and allow it to percolate into deeper layers and contribute to formation of ground water.2. Constructing dams and reservoirs to regulate supply of water to the fields, as well as to enable generating hydroelectricity.3. Sewage should be treated and only the clear water should be released into the rivers.4. Industrial wastes (effluents) should be treated to prevent chemical and thermal pollution of fresh water.5. Judicious use of water in our day-to-day life. Rainwater harvesting should be done by storing rainwater and recharging groundwater. Conservation of Biodiversity Now you have an idea of the importance of biodiversity for our survival and how it is destroyed. Let us know how to protect the biodiversity. There are two basic strategies for conservation of biodiversity:(i) In-situ conservation(ii) Ex-situ conservation(i) In-situ (on site) conservation includes the protection of plants and animals within their natural habitats or in protected areas. Protected areas are areas of land or sea dedicated to protection and maintenance of biodiversity.
For example: e.g., National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Biosphere Reserves, etc. (ii) Ex-situ (off site) conservation is the conservation of plants and animals outside their natural habitats. These include Botanical Gardens, Zoo, Gene Banks, DNA Banks, Seed Banks, Pollen Banks, Seedling and Tissue Culture etc. Conservation of Forests is an important part of the environment, because trees clean the air and keep the atmosphere cool. We cannot live without plants, because the oxygen need for breathing is produced by plants. Trees absorb sunlight and reduce the heat. Plants provide fodder for animals, firewood, timber, medicines, honey, wax, gum, lac and food for us. Tree roots penetrate deep into the soil and from cavities in the ground. The dry leaves which fall on ground cover the soil and absorb more rain water, which slowly percolates through the soil. Thus, a large portion of the rain water can be retained in the field, by planting more trees.
Flooding or rivers can be prevented by protecting trees in the forest. For the conservation of forests, following methods can be taken: (a) Conservation of forest is a national problem so it must be tackled with perfect coordination between forest department and other departments. (b) Peoples participation in the conservation of forests is of vital importance. So, we must get them involved in this national task.(c) The cutting of trees in the forests must be stopped at all costs.(d) Afforestation or special programmes like Van Mahotsava should be launched on grand scale.(e) Celebrations of all functions, festivals should precede with tree-plantation.(f) Cutting of timber and other forest produce should be restricted.(g) Grasslands should be regenerated.(h) Forest conservation Act 1980 should be strictly implemented to check deforestation.(i) Several centers of excellence have been setup and awards should be instituted. LEGISLATION FOR CONSERVATION various acts and laws have been passed in Indian constitution for conservation of natural resources. Some of them are:
Environment Protection Act, 1986
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 National Forest Policy, 1988
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and amended in 1991 13.
What is Environment? Our Environment is our surrounding. This includes living and non-living things around us. The non-living components of environment are land, water and air. The living components are germs, plants, animals and people. All plants and animals adjust to the environment in which they are born and live. A charge in any component of the environment may cause discomfort and affect normal life. Any unfavorable change or degeneration in the environment is known as ‘Environmental Pollution. We need to protect our environment to live happily. 14. How to Maintain a Good Environment? For better environment, all its components should be protected from pollution and the surroundings should be clean.
We need to take good care of our land, water resources, forests and atmosphere. It is also necessary to ensure a balance between these resources and living creatures, to meet our needs. 15. What Role can Children Play in Preventing Environment Pollution? Children in rural and urban areas can play an important role in preventing environment pollution very effectively there is great satisfaction in doing it ourselves. 16. What Can Rural Children do?
Children in village can persuade their parents to:
Use smokeless chulhas or install biogas plants;
Provide smoke outlets and ventilation in the kitchen;
Tie livestock outside the house and reduce their number
Feed livestock in their sheds without letting them out for grazing;
Plant trees around the house, on field bunds and along roadsides; – Develop filed bunds across the slope the retain more water and prevent the soil being washed away. Plough the field across the slope;
Keep tanks, canals and other water sources clean;
Use the sewage water for growing trees;
Keep the surroundings of the house and well clean;
Prepare compost by using garbage, dung and other wastes;
Select a suitable site for the toilet, away from water sources and houses. It can also be connected to the biogas plant; Use agro-chemicals carefully and try to avoid them. Plant products may be preferred wherever effective to protect crops;
protect wildlife like frogs, snakes, mongoose, birds, etc. 17. What Can Urban Children do? Urban children can do a lot to reduce environment pollution.
Plant tress in school and home premises. Even if you are staying in a flat, plants and creepers can be raises in pots and wooden boxes, in the balcony;
Protect the trees planted along roadsides;
Keep public areas clean and avoid littering;
Plant trees along roadsides, near bus stops, around playgrounds, and in parks to provide shade;
Avoid dumping garbage on the street. Dispose them in a garbage dump; you can also make a compost pit to convert garbage into manure;
Waste paper, plastic, glass and metal pieces can be recycled this would reduce the pollution and conserve our resources;
Avoid using plastic materials such as plates and carry bags which cannot be used again. Moreover, when plastic is thrown away, it does not degrade but remains in the soil, polluting the surroundings;
Do not make noise in public places; every likes quiet surroundings;
Request your family members to use automobiles only when necessary; walking or cycling can be a pleasure when the distance is short;
If someone is causing pollution in your area, inform the authorities through your teachers or parents. 18. We can protect our environment in many ways. Let us act now and persuade others to join us. This will ensure safety for our future generations.
Nature has provided bountiful resources surrounding us for sustenance of a better life. Thus, any part of our natural environment such as land, water, air, minerals, forest, grassland, wildlife, fish or even human population that man can utilize to promote his welfare, may be considered as Natural Resources. These resources, along with human resources and capital, play a crucial role for expansion to national output which ultimately drives towards economic development. Hence, the existence or the absence of favorable natural resources can facilitate or retard the process of economic development. Natural resources include land, forests, wildlife resources, fisheries, water resources, energy resources, marine resources, and mineral resources.
These resources are usually known to man. But nature possesses more in its bosom which is still undiscovered. For example, the vast resources of solar, wind, tidal and geothermal energy are yet to be fully discovered and utilized. Man is required to develop scientific techniques for their proper utilization. Out of all those natural resources, some are exhaustible or nonrenewable type such as minerals and oils which can be used only one time. Once exhausted, they are depleted completely. But some others, like land, water, fisheries and forests are renewable or non-exhaustible in nature. If proper care is taken, they can be utilized endlessly. Hence for sustainable development, careful use of the exhaustible resources and maintenance of the quality of renewable resources are needed. For that, certain objectives should be followed. Objectives for Natural Resources Development
(i) Conversation of renewable resources and economic use of exhaustible resources for sustainable development.
(ii) Multipurpose use for resources,
(iii) Much emphasis should be given on development of non-conventional energy resources,
(iv) Economic use of resources to achieve minimum waste.
(v) Environmental impact assessment for new projects.
(vi) Nature of balance should not be disturbed through exploitation of natural resources. (A) Land Resources
The total land area of India is of 32, 87,262 sq. km. But statistical information is available for only 93 per cent of total area. Out of this the productive or cultivable land is only 47 per cent. Rest 19 per cent comes under forest, 9 per cent as fallow lands, 11 per cent as cultivable waste land and others. Figures of availability of arable land per capita reveal that India is not favorably placed in this respect. When India accounts for 15 per cent of world population, it possesses only 2.4 per cent of the land surface of the world. Hence efforts should be taken to increase cultivable area. Now it is trying to add fallow lands and cultivable waste lands which account for 20 per cent to net area sown and to increase the area under double cropping using modern scientific techniques. (B) Forest Resources
Forests are an important renewable natural resources that contribute substantially to economic development. They provide raw materials to a number of important industries, namely, matchboxes, paper, newsprint, rayon, furniture, construction, tanning etc. Apart from timbers and woods, forests are rich sources of varieties of valuable plants for medicine, spices, dyes, bamboo, canes, grasses, lac, gums, tanning materials etc. From checking of wood and soil erosion to wild life protection, rainfall, human recreation, water sheds and balance of nature, forests play a major role in enhancing quality of environment. The total area under forest is of 752.9 laky hectares which is 19 per cent of the total geographic are. This area is gradually decreasing year after year due to deforestation. On the basis of legal status forests are classified into (i) reserved (53%) (ii) protected (30%) and (iii) unclasped (17%) forests. Forest area is concentrated in few States like Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and a few union territories, but it is deficient in northern India. There is a need to develop forest areas in the entire country. (C) Forest Policy
The forest area is decreasing very fast day by day. Hence the Government of India declared its forest policy in 1952 to increase the forest areas. According to this policy, it was decided to raise steadily the forest area to 33 per cent for the country as a whole, 60 per cent area under the forests for hilly regions and for plains to bring this area to 20 per cent. The 1952 forest policy was again revised in 1988 and the main objective of the revised forest policy of 1988 is. Protection, Conservation and Afforestation. It emphasizes on: (i) Substantial increase in forest/tree cover through massive forestation and social forestry programmes. (ii) Maintenance of environmental stability through preservation and restoration of ecological balance. (iii) Conservation of natural heritage.
(iv) Check on soil erosion and denudation in catchment areas of rivers, lakes and reservoirs. (v) Check on extension of sand dunes in desert areas of Rajasthan. (vi) Steps to meet requirements of fuel wood, fodder and minor forest produce of rural and tribal populations. (vii) Increases in productivity of forests to meet national needs. (viii) Steps to generate massive people’s awareness to achieve objectives and minimize pressure on existing forests. The Department of Forest, Government of India has given much emphasis on Afforestation and development of waste lands, reforestation and plantation in the existing forest, prohibition of grazing and elimination of forest contractors.