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Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

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Introduction

Resources include the entire natural environment as all parts of the Earth, which are some of the uses to man. They 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 awfully getting polluted and depleted.

Natural Resource Management (NRM) deals with managing the way where 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 our productivity and health of our landscapes, and the stewards' actions of the land play a major role in maintaining this productivity and health.


Pollution

Pollution is one of the sustainable management of natural resources and is an undesirable change in the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of water, soil, and air. This is harmful to humans and for other organisms on the Earth as well. So there is an immediate requirement to take proper care and manage the natural resources to sustain and conserve our environment for sustainable development.

There are international laws, different acts, organizations working towards our environmental protection. The awareness about these problems had lead to the conservation of the environment and also the natural resources.

For example, The Ganga Action Plan.


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.

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It was also noticed that because of the continuous dumping of waste into river Ganga, the number of bacteria coliform risen up to an alarming level. This bacteria is otherwise found in a human intestine. This has led to the pollution of the river. As people use water for bathing, washing clothes, and many other personal and cleaning activities, that affect the 'ph' water level made it contaminated.

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


Reduce

It is meant to use the less natural resources like,

  • Switch off the electrical appliances when they are not in use

  • Save fuel by walking or using public transport, and so on

  • Save food by cooking limitedly or not wasting it


Recycle

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


Reuse

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

  • Reuse the envelopes

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

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


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, the proper management ensures the availability of these resources always as for us today and for future generations tomorrow.

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We do see biodiversity (a wide variety of plants, species, animals, and microorganisms are seen in a natural habitat) in forests.

These forests are our natural resources and a habitat for wildlife as well and also need to be conserved.


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


Sustainable Development

It is controlling the usage of resources in a way that there are a continuous flow and equitable availability of products and services for the current and future generations without any impact on the environment.


Chipko Andolan

It was also sustainable management of natural resources, 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 for other areas of people. They hugged the trees by making a circular chain standing themselves and protested against cutting them.

The Andolan spread soon in nearby areas, and also they started to protest against the cutting of trees.

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Wildlife

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-

  • Over exploitation

  • Habitat destruction

  • Hunting

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: 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 Parks - 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, a traditional lifestyle of 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.

Q2: 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 given below.

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

  • It ensures water availability

  • The groundwater is regularly recharged

Khadin System - It is a traditional rainwater harvesting method in Rajasthan for agriculture. It comprises a very long earthen embankment down the slope of the catchment areas that helps in retaining runoff water. Often, a shallow well is dug behind the embankment for storing excess overflowing water. The stored water percolates down slowly into the ground. Then, the area is used for growing crops and for vegetation.