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Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

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What is Natural Resource Management?

Resources include the entire natural environment that is useful to humans. Resources are actually stocks of nature like soil, minerals, water, coal, forests, and more. But because of the increasing population and technological development, our natural resources are getting polluted and depleted.

Natural Resource Management (NRM) deals with managing the way people and natural landscapes interact. It brings together water management, land use planning, biodiversity conservation, and the future sustainability of industries such as mining, tourism, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. It also recognises that people and their livelihoods rely on the productivity and health of our landscapes, and the caretaking of the land plays a major role in maintaining this productivity and health. The article discusses the different types of sustainable management techniques of natural resources.


Pollution is defined as the addition of contaminants in a substance. The contaminants are defined as particles that cause undesirable changes in the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. Addition of contaminants in water, soil, and air results in the most common form of pollution.  This is harmful to humans and to other organisms on the Earth as well. So there is an immediate requirement to take proper care and manage the natural resources to conserve our environment for sustainable development. There are international laws, different acts, organizations working towards our environmental protection. The awareness about these problems has led to the conservation of the environment and natural resources. For example, The Ganga Action Plan.

Methods of Sustainable Management 

We can reduce the environmental pressure by following the concept named 3R's, which means to Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse. 


It means  to use the natural resources less, which can be done by: like,

  • Switching off the electrical appliances when they are not in use.

  • Saving fuel by walking or using public transport.

  • Saving food by cooking limitedly or not wasting it, and so on.


It is defined as the processing or recycling of waste to form new products. Practising the concept of recycling saves resources, costs, and also reduces the piling of waste materials.


It is defined as using an item more than once like,

  • Reuse the envelope.

  • The containers of jams and pickles should be reused by storing other food items or groceries.

  • Use cloth/jute bags instead of the polyethene ones, and so on.

What is Sustainable Development?

It is controlling the usage of resources in a way that there is a continuous flow and equitable availability of products and services for the current and future generations without any impact on the environment. Case studies of Chipko Andolan and Ganga action plans are mentioned below as examples of sustainable development. 

  • Chipko Andolan

The Andolan is an example of sustainable management of natural resources, which was initiated in a village, Tehri, located in Garhwal. The people residing in that area realized the importance of forests and decided not to give timber products to the people of other areas. They hugged the trees by making a human chain by standing and protested against cutting them. The Andolan soon spread in the nearby areas, and those people also started to protest against the cutting of trees.

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  • Ganga Action Plan

In 1985, the Ganga Action Plan was implemented as a massive multi-crore project, which was undertaken to make the river Ganga pollution-free. It was also noticed that because of the continuous dumping of waste into river Ganga, the number of coliform bacteria rose up to an alarming level. This bacteria is, otherwise, found in the human intestine. This led to the pollution of the river. As people use water for bathing, washing clothes, it leads to the addition of various chemicals in the water which in turn, alters the 'ph' of the water level and makes it contaminated. The main aim of the project was to improve the quality of water by reducing the concentration of contaminants in the river. 

Why Should We Manage Our Resources?

We are in critical demand to manage our resources because everything that we consume is obtained from resources existing on the Earth. They have to be handled carefully as all the natural resources are limited. Also, proper management ensures the availability of these resources for us today and for future generations tomorrow.

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Sectors Affected by Depletion of Natural Resources

The depletion of natural resources poses a potential threat on a global level, depletion of resources like water and fossil fuels may lead to a severe shortage of water and fuel sources, but the immediate effect of overexploitation is widely suffered by the population established near the resource. Some of the most common examples of sectors affected by lack of sustainable management include the stakeholders and the wildlife of the nearby area. These are briefly explained below.  

What are Stakeholders?

They are the individuals and the parties having a binding interest in an asset. The stakeholders are,

  • Locals - Who live around the forests and frequently depend on forest products.

  • The Forest Department - A government body that looks after the forest.

  • Industrialists - They take raw materials to run their industries.

  • Wildlife and Natural Enthusiasts - Those who need to conserve forests.

The stakeholders generally depend directly or indirectly on the natural resources for their livelihood, the lack of sustainable management, in turn, leads to overexploitation and scarcity of the resources. 


Wildlife refers to living beings as a combination of plants, animals, and microorganisms found in natural habitats, which are neither domesticated nor cultivated. It is threatened because of a high degree of exploitation and human interference like-

  • Overexploitation

  • Habitat destruction

  • Hunting

Lack of proper management techniques leads to the disruption of the ecological balance of the environment. 

In conclusion of the article, we have learnt about natural resource management and its importance. 

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FAQs on Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

1. Explain Wildlife Conservation and Its Methods?

It is the practice of sustainable management of natural resources, protecting wild species and their habitats to prevent species from going extinct. Major threats to wildlife include destruction/degradation/fragmentation, habitat, overexploitation, poaching, climate change, and pollution. Conservation can be done by following the below methods:

  • National Park - A protected area where cultivation, grazing, hunting, and more are not allowed. For example, Jim Corbett National Park.

  • Sanctuaries - These are the protected areas where except hunting, all other activities are allowed.

  • Biosphere Reserve - A protected area meant for wildlife conservation, tribals, and their domesticated animals.

  • Protection through Legislation - There are a number of wildlife acts like IBWL ( Indian Board of Wild Life) - 1952, Wildlife Protection Act - 1972, MAB (Man And Biosphere Programme) - 1971, Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) - 1976.

2. Explain the Water Harvesting and Benefits of it?

It is a method of capturing, collection, and storage of rainwater and surface runoff for filling either small bodies or recharging groundwater. The benefits of water harvesting are described as:

  • This method lessens the chances of flooding during the rainy season. 

  • It ensures water availability. 

  • The groundwater is regularly recharged.

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