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CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES Introduction The earth has plenty of resources that people can use to meet their

needs. The earth is a great place where both living and non living things can be found. Plants and animals are living things. Land, water and air are non living things. People use both living and non living things on earth to satisfy their needs. The materials on earth that people use are called natural resources. There are two types of natural resources on earth which is renewable and nonrenewable resources. Renewable resources Man needs both plants and animals to survive. All the food people eat come from plants and animals. The plants which people eat are replaced by new ones after each harvest. Farmers often take this task in order for us to survive. People also eat animals. Animals have the capacity to reproduce and are replaced when young animals are born. Plants and animals are resources that can be replaced. Water in a river or in a well may dry up. But when the rain comes the water is replaced. Water is a resource that can be replaced. They are called renewable resources. Renewable resources are those that can be replaced such as plants, animals and water. Plants and animals in their natural homes are called wildlife. Given enough time to reproduce, they are renewable resources. But if collected or hunted faster than they can reproduce, they will be completely wiped out on earth. In other words, they will become extinct. Nonrenewable resources Most plants grow in top soil. Soil comes from rocks and materials from dead plants and animals. It takes thousand of years for soil to form. Therefore, soil cannot be replaced easily. It is a nonrenewable resource. There are rich supplies of iron and aluminum in the earth. But people are using them up fast. They have to dig deeper into the earth to get what they need. Coil, oil and natural gas are called fossil fuels. They were formed from plants and animals that lived on earth millions of years ago. They are buried deep in the earth and are harvested by man through oil rigs and mining. These fuels are used to produce electricity, machine fuels and other things to meet their needs. People use much of fuel and so more fossil fuels are being used up. It takes millions of years for dead plants and animals to turn into fossil fuels. When these fuels are used up, they cannot be replaced. They are called

nonrenewable resources. Nonrenewable resources are those that cannot be replaced easily such as soil, coal, oil and natural gas. HOW HUMAN DESTROY OUR NATURAL RESOURCES Some people activities are harmful to both our renewable and nonrenewable resources. To build new roads, people blast off mountains killing both plants and animals. It also creates destruction to their natural habitat. Rice fields are turned into residential or commercial centers. People cut too many trees for lumber. When all the trees are gone, rains wash away the soil. Industrialization brings people to build many factories. If not properly planned and maintain, this factories emits harmful waste materials that pollutes the soil, air and water. Too much mining and quarrying for the purpose of getting those precious metals and stones eventually erodes the soil. In farming, some farmers use too much chemical fertilizers. Too much fertilizer destroys the quality of the soil and is harmful to both human and animals. Burning plastics and garbage, and smoke belching cars also pollutes the air and contributes to global warming.

Classification of Natural Resources

CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES As the human population is continuously growing the consumption of natural resources is also increasing. With the increasing industrialisation and urbanisation 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 can derive benefits from natural resources but at the same time prevent 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 : Soil Soil is the uppermost layer of earths crust, which supports growth of plants. It is a complex mixture of mineral particles (formed from rocks), humus (organic material formed from decaying plant remains), mineral salts, water, air, and living organisms. Soil is renewable because its productivity can be maintained with fertilizers and manures rich in humus. If the soil has been removed from a certain place by erosion, it is practically nonrenewable because formation of new soil may take hundreds and thousands of years. The removal of top layers of soil by wind and water is called soil erosion. top layers of soil contain humus and mineral salts, which are vital for the growth of plants. Thus, erosion causes a significant loss of humus and nutrients, and decreases the fertility of soil. Erosion of soil takes places due to the effect of natural agents like wind and water. High velocity winds over lands, which have no vegetation, carry away the loose top soil. Similarly in areas with no or very little vegetation, the pouring raindrops carry away the soil. Besides the natural agents, there are some human activities, which cause soil erosion. If the forests are cut down for timber, or for farming purposes, then the soil is no longer protected from the effect of falling rains. Consequently, the top soil is washed away into the rivers and oceans. Stubble , The short, stiff stalks of grain or hay remaining on a field after harvesting. Poor farming methods which is improper tillage and failure to replace humus after successive crops and burning the stubble of weeds reduce the water-holding capacity of the soil. So the soil becomes dry and can be blown away as dust. Overgrazing by flocks of cattle, buffaloes, goats and sheep leave very little plant-cover on the soil. Their hooves make the soil dry and soil can be blown away easily. 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 Soil Soil loses its fertility due to erosion. Soil conservation means checking soil erosion and improving soil fertility by adopting various methods. Maintenance of soil fertility: The fertility can be maintained by adding manure and fertilizers regularly as well as by rotation of crop. Control on grazing: Grazing should be allowed only on the areas meant for it and not on agricultural land. Reforestation: Planting of trees and vegetation reduces soil erosion by both water and wind. Terracing: Dividing a slope into several flat fields to control rapid run of water. It is practised mostly in hilly areas. Contour ploughing: Ploughing at right angles to the slope allows the furrows to trap water and check soil erosion by rain water. Water water is essential for survival of all living organisms. It is the most important component of all life forms and necessary for sustaining life. It regulates climate, generates electricity and is also useful in agriculture and industries. About 97% of the water on earth is saline in nature, which is found in seas and oceans. The remaining 3% is fresh water, and most of which is stored in ice caps and glaciers, and just about 0.36% is distributed in lakes, rivers, ponds, etc. Sea water supports marine life and contributes to the production of fish and sea foods and several other commercial products (iodine, agar, coral, pearls, etc.). Fresh water is needed by humans for their personal use, It is also used by other animals, in agricultural, and for industrial purposes. Fresh water is a renewable resource as it is continuously being produced through hydrological cycle (evaporation, condensation and precipitation) HC

Degradation of water is the decrease in quality and quantity of water on the earth surface. With increase in population and industrial growth, water is being degraded day by day. The main reasons for the degradation of water are:

to meet the need of increasing population, surface water (water from ponds, lakes, rivers, etc) and ground water are overdrawn. sewage, such as waste water from domestic and municipal use makes fresh water unfit for use by human beings and animals. waste water, from all industries flow down the surface water bodies and ground water bodies and they get polluted. agricultural wastes containing manures, fertilizers and pesticides enter the water bodies and degrade the quality of water. the continuous decrease of ground water level along coastal regions often cause movement of saline sea water into freshwater wells, thus, spoiling their water quality.

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: 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. Constructing dams and reservoirs to regulate supply of water to the fields, as well as to enable generating hydroelectricity. Sewage should be treated and only the clear water should be released into the rivers. Industrial wastes (effluents) should be treated to prevent chemical and thermal pollution of fresh water. Judicious use of water in our day-to-day life. Rainwater harvesting should be done by storing rainwater and recharging groundwater.

Other Methods Of Conserving Natural Resources Resources are features of environment that are important and value of to human in one form or the other. However, the advancement of modern civilization has had a great impact on our planet's natural resources. So, conserving natural resources is very essential today. There are many ways that one can conserve natural resources. Most of the people use natural gas to heat their water and their homeFor conservation of natural resources like natural gas, one can get tank less water heater as it reduces the usage of natural gas. The other way to save natural

gas is the use of another energy source for instance hydro, solar or wind power are all healthy and great alternatives to conserving natural resources. In fact these energy sources are clean and healthy for environment. Moreover, these energy sources do not emit or produced harmful gases or toxin into our environment like that of the burning fossil fuels at the same time they are renewable as well as are not easy to deplete. Today, most of the people are finding many ways for conserving natural resources. One of the great option before is Hydro-power and solar power. Power can be generated from these sources and these are the best ways for natural resources conservation like fossil fuels. There is also way to conserve natural resource like trees. It can be conserve through recycling process. Many products come from the trees like papers, cups, cardboards and envelopes. By recycling these products you can reduce the number of trees cut down a year. One should make the most use of these paper products without being wasteful and then recycle them. This is one great way for conserving natural resources. Fossil fuels on Earth will not last forever; we need to conserve these fossil fuels. To conserve fossil fuels one can choose to buy a hybrid car. Some of these cars will run on electricity combined with using small amounts of gas. Some hybrid cars just run on electricity. Either way it is a great way for conserving natural resources when it is concern with fossil fuels.

Biodiversity Biodiversity is essential for maintenance of ecosystem. It maintains gaseous composition of atmosphere, controls climate, helps in natural pest control, pollination of plants by insects and birds, soil formation and conservation, water purification and conservation, geo-chemical cycles etc. Though biodiversity is so important for our survival, we are destroying it knowingly or unknowingly. It is under threat due to the following reasons: Destruction of habitat by cutting down trees, filling up the wetland, ploughing of grassland or burning a forest. Population explosion has increased demand for food and shelter. It has lead to culture of single crop that will result in disappearance of some other crops.

Industrialisation and urbanisation has changed and destroyed the natural habitat of plants and animals. Pollution of soil, air and water changes the habitat quality and may reduce or eliminate sensitive species. Mining activities add to the pollution of air and water and threaten the survival of the animals in the nearby areas. Construction of dams, roads and railways destroys huge patches of forests, grassland etc. thus, disturb the biodiversity. Indiscriminate killing of animals for different purposes has resulted in their reduction. Introduction of exotic/foreign species in an area threaten the survival of existing natural biodiversity; e.g., water hyacinth clogs rivers and lakes and threatens the life of many aquatic species in our country.

Conservation of Biodiversity There are two basic strategies for conservation of biodiversity which is In-situ conservation and Ex-situ conservation. 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: National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Biosphere Reserves, etc. 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. Wildlife Animals and plants living in their natural habitat constitute wildlife. The wildlife forms an important resource as it plays a major role in maintaining ecological balance. It is used in research as experimental material and also used for recreational purposes. Like other resources it is also facing severe threat. So it should be conserved and maintained for the use of future generation. Need for Conservation of wildlife maintaining ecological balance for supporting life. preserving different kinds of species (biodiversity).

preserving economically important plants and animals. conserving the endangered species.

Methods of Conservation of Wildlife Establishing biosphere reserves, national parks and sanctuaries. Afforestation (Tree planting programme). Special schemes for preservation of threatened species. Improvement of natural habitats of wildlife. Educating people about the need and methods of conservation of wildlife. Formulation of Acts and Regulations to prevent poaching (killing animals) forsports and money. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Till now we discussed how we have manipulated the existing natural resources using the advanced science and technology to create our own environment. Thus, in the process of overexploitation of natural resources, we have not only changed the natural environment but in some cases, destroyed it. The modern industries, factories, cities, towns, roads, railways, dams etc. have replaced the natural habitats of plants and animals. Thus, the natural resources are depleting gradually and a day will come when most of these will not be available for our future generation. So it is high time to think about maintaining a balance between environment and development so that both present and future generations can derive proper benefits out of these resources. This can only be achieved by the process of sustainable development. Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present generation and conserves it for the future generation. So we should leave water, air, soil and other natural resources as pure and unpolluted as when it came on earth. Sustainable development should include : reducing excessive use of resources and enhancing resource conservation. recycling and reuse of waste materials. scientific management of renewable resources, especially bio-resources. plant more trees. green grassy patches to be interspersed between concrete buildings. use more environment friendly material or biodegradable material.

use of technologies, which are environmental friendly and based on efficient use of resources.

CONCLUSION Conservation is the sum total of activities, which can derive benefits from natural resources but at the same time prevent excessive use leading to destruction or neglect. Conservation and management of natural resources are essential for the survival of mankind, plants and animals. Therefore, the conservation of natural resources required cooperations from many agencies in order to implement it. Governments policy, private agency, and public participation at all levels also ensures conservation of pristine rural landscapes, species survival and more importantly the genomes that could become templates for the progress of biotechnology.

REFERENCES: 1. http://www.ukm.my/myc/pdf/workshop/DAY%20ONE_SESSION1/Prof%20Latiff.pd f. asessed on 20 may 2012 2. Parris, Parris, B. S. & A. Latiff. 1997. B. S. & A. Latiff. 1997. Towards Towards a pteridophyte flora of Malaysia : A provisional checklist of taxa. Malayan Nature Jounal 50 : 235-280 3. Bidin Bidin A A & A Latiff 1995 The status of , A. A. & A. Latiff. 1995. The status of terrestrial biodi-versity in Malaysia. In : A. H. Zakri (Ed.). Prospects in Biodi-versity Prospecting. Pp. 59-76. Genetic Society of Malaysia & UKM 4.