Natural Resource Management

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Things that are available around us in the environment and which are used by human beings for survival and commercial purposes can be referred to as natural resources. It includes a vast array of resources such as fossil fuels, water, forests, wind, precious metals, and stones. Based on their origin, natural resources can be classified into two types – biotic and abiotic. 

Biotic resources refer to those which are either obtained or have originated from living organisms. For instance, we collect timber from trees. Petrol is derived from petroleum which has formed from decayed remains of living organisms. On the other hand, non – living material found in nature, such as metals, stone, water, air are known as abiotic resources.

Additionally, natural resources can also be classified based on their renewability. Some natural resources such as air, solar energy and water can be replenished. Human consumption does not affect their availability on earth. In contrast, the availability of non-renewable resources is limited as they take a lot of time to form in nature. Consequently, there is a chance that non-renewable resources may get exhausted if their use is not regulated. This gives rise to the need for natural resource management and conservation.

Need for Natural Resource Management

The need for the proper conservation of natural resources has been a source of debate for quite some time now. You too may be wondering why we need to manage our natural resources.

Natural resources have become an undeniable part of human society as we know it. It cannot function efficiently if any of these resources get completely exhausted. For instance, cars and numerous other machineries run on petrol and coal. 

Since no suitable alternative resources have been discovered yet, scarcity of any of the above will lead to severe consequences such as a sharp increase in the price of transportation. It will also lead to increase in food prices as the price of transporting food from one place to another will increase, which will lead to starvation.

Thus, from the above example, we can see that depletion of natural resources can have severe social, economic as well as environmental consequences. Hence, there is an immediate need for natural resource management not just for the present but for the future generation too.

Aim of Resource Management

Natural resource management can be defined as sustainable utilisation as well as regulation and protection of available natural resources. So what is sustainable management of natural resources? It means use of natural resources efficiently without harming the environment or compromising with the needs of future generations.

Notably, there are various programmes for natural resource management in India. These are crop diversification, organic farming, soil and water conservation – participatory watershed management, nutrient and bio waste management, weed management and so on.

Now that you know what is natural resource management, you will be able to understand its main objectives which are as follows – 

  • It focuses on how human beings interact and depend on nature for livelihood. Besides, It also understands that their actions play an essential role in conservation and management of resources.

  • Regulating a vast array of activities that makes use of natural resources which includes land use, water management, managing fisheries, conservation of flora and fauna. 

  • Planning for optimal use of natural resources for present and future sustainability of several industries.

There are several principles of natural resource management. They are – legitimacy, transparency, fairness, integration, capability, adaptability, inclusion, accountability. They are the governing principles behind NRM.

Approaches to Natural Resource Management

There are several approaches applied to sustainable management of natural resources. These are as follows – 

  • Integrated Natural Resource Management – this refers to regulating the use of natural resources in a systematic manner. This approach involves various aspects of the use of natural resources such as socio-political, economic, and biophysical to meet the requirements of stakeholders along with focusing on the conservation of the environment. 

It involves everyone from local groups to various institutions and even the government in its planning stage. It also takes into account the poor and marginalised into the decision-making process.

  • Adaptive Management Approach – this flexible approach of resource management follows the process of planning, performing, learning based on past performance and adapting according to what has been learned. The main components are as follows – collection of data, evaluation of the data which is collected, risk management, community engagement and offering opportunities for collaboration.

  • Community-based Natural Resource Management – this approach understands that a community is dependent on the ecosystem and vice versa. Therefore, this approach incorporates a community’s participation in making decisions as well as the conservation of their environment. The main components of this approach are – 

  1. Effective collaboration and coordination between government, community, NGOs and other participants.

  2. Coming together to find and analyse data and deciding on a course of action based on it.

  3. Facilitating learning, trust and accountability through monitoring natural resources and applying decisions

You will find related articles on this topic on our website. It will enable you to gain a better understanding of the importance of effective resource management concepts mentioned in this article.

You can download the articles in PDF format from our website along with questionnaires and online doubt clearing sessions. Now you can also download our Vedantu app for better access to these notes and online interactive classes.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Natural Resources? 

Ans. Natural resources are things which are present naturally in the environment that we exploit for survival as well as commercial purpose.

2. Why do we Need to Manage our Natural Resources?

Ans. Natural resources management is essential for equal and stainable allocation among humans, not just for this generation but also for the upcoming ones.

3. What are the Two Major Approaches to Management of Natural Resources?

Ans. Two approaches to the sustainable management of natural resources include an adaptive management and community based natural resource management.