Natural Resources: Definition and Classification

Natural resources are naturally occurring substances that are considered valuable in their relatively unmodified (natural) form. A natural resource’s value rests in the amount of the material available and the demand for it. The latter is determined by its usefulness to production. A commodity is generally considered a natural resource when the primary activities associated with it are extraction and purification, as opposed to creation. Thus, mining, petroleum extraction, fishing, hunting, and forestry are generally considered natural-resource industries, while agriculture is not. The term was introduced to a broad audience by E.F. Schumacher in his 1970s book Small is Beautiful.

Classification of natural resources

Natural resources are mostly classified into renewable and non-renewable resources. Renewable resources

Renewable resources are generally living resources (fish, reindeer, coffee, and forests, for example), which can restock (renew) themselves if they are not over-harvested but used sustainably. Once renewable resources are consumed at a rate that exceeds their natural rate of replacement, the standing stock (see renewable energy) will diminish and eventually run out. The rate of sustainable use of a renewable resource is determined by the replacement rate and amount of standing stock of that particular resource. Non-living renewable natural resources include soil and water.

Flow renewable resources are very much like renewable resources, only they do not need regeneration, unlike renewable resources. Flow renewable resources include renewable energy sources such as the following renewable power sources: solar, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas, tides and wind.

Resources can also be classified on the basis of their origin as biotic and abiotic. Biotic resources are derived from living organisms. Abiotic resources are derived from the non-living world (e.g., land, water, and air). Mineral and power resources are also abiotic resources some of which are derived from nature.

Non-renewable resources

A non-renewable resource is a natural resource that exists in a fixed amount that cannot be re-made, re-grown or regenerated as fast as it is consumed and used up.

Some non-renewable resources can be renewable but take an extremely long time to renew. Fossil fuels, for example, take millions of years to form and so are not practically considered ‘renewable’. Many environmentalists proposed to tax on consumption of non renewable resources.

Natural capital

Natural resources are natural capital converted to commodity inputs to infrastructural capital processes. They include soil, timber, oil, minerals, and other goods taken more or less from the Earth. Both extraction of the basic resource and refining it into a purer, directly usable form, (e.g., metals, refined oils) are generally considered natural-resource activities, even though the latter may not necessarily occur near the former.

A nation’s natural resources often determine its wealth and status in the world economic system, by determining its political influence in. Developed nations are those which are less dependent on natural resources for wealth, due to their greater reliance on infrastructural capital for production. However, some see a resource curse whereby easily obtainable natural resources could actually hurt the prospects of a national economy by fostering political corruption. Political corruption can negatively impact the national economy because time is spent giving bribes or other economically unproductive acts instead of the generation of generative economic activity. There also tends to be concentrations of ownership over specific plots of land that have proven to yield natural resources.

In recent years, the depletion of natural capital and attempts to move to sustainable development have been a major focus of development agencies. This is of particular concern in rainforest regions, which hold most of the Earth’s natural biodiversity – irreplaceable genetic natural capital. Conservation of natural resources is the major focus of natural capitalism, environmentalism, the ecology movement, and Green Parties. Some view this depletion as a major source of social unrest and conflicts in developing nations.Other information sources

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About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
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95 Responses to Natural Resources: Definition and Classification

  1. shaf says:

    thanx :)

    Like

  2. Thailand says:

    Hey thx alot!
    Nice to know something about natural resources.
    Iam a Facility Management study, and we need any facts about resources. I´ve searched the whole internet, and your site is the first font with actually good informations. I need more sites which had something in store like those facts… “From good authority” :)

    Greets

    Like

  3. reeta says:

    hey thanx it was really great. iwas searching this information for my project. in classification you can also add about biotic or abiotic, ownership classification and status of development. i got a few more information. thanks a lot

    have a great day

    greetings
    reeta

    Like

  4. pascal mathili says:

    ilike the site made my work easier.keep up

    Like

  5. Payday Loan says:

    I found lots of interesting information on rashidfaridi.wordpress.com. The post was professionally written and I feel like the author has extensive knowledge in the subject. rashidfaridi.wordpress.com keep it that way.

    Like

    • Yaw Asamoah says:

      Hi,
      That is great job you’re doing. I have been teaching natural resource management management for the past few year, and I think I like the way you use simple language to explain things here. Can you include the classification diagram?

      Like

  6. kunal says:

    hello rashid can u help me out i wanted to know all about natural resources as i have to make an E.V.S. project for my board exams. will you plzzzzzzzzzzz help me out. i will always be thankful to you. plzzzzzzz reply me urgently.

    Like

  7. banda arnold says:

    please help me with types of forests and woodlands resources and also utilization of forests in Africa

    Like

    • Leo Ajegana James says:

      I found this site very resourceful, as it greatly enhance my understanding of the intricate nature of the environment. I have been able to learn a lot about natural resource conservation and will need more updates from this site. I really appreciate what wonderful work you are doing. Keep it up.

      Like

  8. Clipton says:

    Thanks alot Sir,
    i am a Geography Postgraduate student in Cameroon, and have searched for information about natural resources on the internet for long but to no avail. This comprehensive piece is of exceptional quality. Thanks for the effort.

    I need more of such useful material

    Like

  9. @Clipton
    It is good to know that the the blog is serving its main purpose. I teach geography and started this to help geography students all over the world. Keep visiting. If you want article on any particular topic please mail me.

    Like

  10. rita says:

    yup its good but i wanted something on depletion

    Like

  11. krati says:

    hello, rashid! I wanted to know about the conservation of natural resources, bioreserves, national parks and all, you know. It is for my geography project, help me please! Send me a reply as soon as possible!

    Like

  12. Hi Rashid,thanks a lot for your resourceful information about the meaning of natural resourceful and their classification.Actually you have helped me so much at a crucial time when was carrying out my research assignment.Thanks again,KEVIN.

    Like

  13. ledama jonathan says:

    Keep it up! Rashid, you have aided my research project in manifold ways. The definition of natural resources is clear and precise.thanks again.

    Like

  14. adam mukama says:

    Hi! Rashid.Your blog ,very interested to me.coz it is helpfull for those who are visting this site.Please sir,may you help to know how natural resources supporting livelihoods of the poor in Tanzania? Am waiting from you sir.It will be helpfull to me.

    Like

  15. mohd riyaz says:

    i am deputy Geologist I am very with you that giving information to any people.

    THANKS

    Like

  16. Ndive Chinedu says:

    Thanks a lots…This is really an interesting topic.

    Like

  17. Dr R Ghosh says:

    Hi Rashid; Thanks for the info. Can you provide some additional info in the form of presentations or documents as teaching materials on natural resource mapping

    Like

  18. muskan says:

    hey rashid your piece of work was really interesting

    Like

  19. @muskan
    Thanks. Keep visiting.

    Like

  20. abhishek pujari says:

    hey, thanks dude…

    Like

  21. Arvee says:

    hei!! i think u shld also write abt: pastoral resources and agricultural resources….

    Like

  22. Rene Peyton says:

    Thanks but this didnt have what i needed.!!!!

    Rene Peyton

    Like

  23. shnaya says:

    hey thanx i was searching this for my project and i get more from you as i was expected.

    have a great time thanx!

    Like

  24. Omare Dougy- MOI UNIVESITY, KENYA says:

    Good work researched & written. Kip up Rashid

    Like

  25. Omare Dougy- MOI UNIVESITY, KENYA says:

    Good work researched & written. Kip up Rashid. 25/10/2010. 10:00pm, Monday

    Like

  26. sasta says:

    cool stuff

    Like

  27. ujjwala khare says:

    the language is really lucid. can you please give the origins of these classifictiona. Has Owen made these classifications?

    Like

  28. ujjwala khare says:

    lucid language. good article. can you give me an idea about the classification of resources. who has made them initially. are these by Owen?

    Like

  29. umesh rijal says:

    Iam interested reading your artical, but iwant to know the relationship between Anthropology of natural resources

    Like

  30. tolu says:

    tanx alot rashid…dis is work made easy u no.of all d articles i av seen in relation to natural resources,only ur article stated that some non-renewable natural resources can be renewed only after a very long period of time usually after millions of years…wow!tanx for making me understand that…i hope to see their differences wen next i log into ur page…tanx again..

    Like

  31. Zacharia says:

    Thanx about a brief information on natural resources, I am a wildlife manager in Tanzania and the information have provided at least a brief information on the undestanding what am managing

    Like

  32. Jimma says:

    I really appropriated that work you,re doing because natural resouces are our life

    Like

  33. sid says:

    you rule 2 d core and you know wat i got 25/10 in my project and i’m serious i got a 15 mark bonus.u rule

    Like

  34. shreya says:

    mujhe chart PE banana tha “pictorial classification of resources”

    Like

  35. renu says:

    thanksss lot………………………………………………………………………this is a good classification…………..,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Like

  36. AMAN AGRAWAL says:

    HEY !!! BUDDY . THANKS FOR YOUR BLOG !!! ITS MUCH HELPFUL ME AT MY CLASS PROJECT !!!

    Like

  37. AMAN AGRAWAL says:

    THANK U !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  38. Harshita Goel says:

    Hey thanx this is awesome I got all the information needed for my project GREAT GOING keep it up thanx again

    Like

  39. Shyamji says:

    Shyamji Gupta

    thanx a lot……it ‘s very helpful for my class project

    Like

  40. kirti says:

    hey,
    thanxx 4 the info. but can u provide me some more defination plzzzzzzzzzzzz……….

    Like

  41. nisha says:

    thankxx for good knowlege about this topic….. nisha

    Like

  42. sonali gupta says:

    hey i like it but it takes a lot of time to open . but it is interesting i was just searching a notes for my project and only from this i was able to get notes for my project so thanks a lot

    Like

  43. alex maroko says:

    alex maroko ku .please show how human and natural factors inluencing resource use

    Like

  44. avinash ray chand says:

    I likes this I was serching this things for my one project

    Like

  45. Rambo says:

    Hey keep it up man! you are doing a great job outta there. Got a great deal of help from your blog.
    Thanks.

    Like

  46. steve morack says:

    hey could you just do something so that this opens up soon?

    Like

  47. Maryam says:

    So fantastic,could u pls keep it up?

    Like

  48. jyotikarn says:

    thankuuuu…
    for help

    Like

  49. Dominic M. Robert says:

    Thanks a lot Sir, i’ve been inspired much by your rich explanation!Still i’m asking for ua assistance to know;
    1.Since natural resources are dynamic,there is no need to classify them as renewable &non renewable.Discuss

    2.Africa is rich in natural resource endowment,but such natural resource are not equally distributed in space.Why?

    Like

  50. Pingback: Your Questions About Alternative Energy,solar Power,wind Power,green Energy, | Green Energy

  51. infact dis is wonderful stuf,so helpful.God bless 4 dat wisdom.pls if possible I need “Natural Resource Management.all same thanks alot

    Like

  52. d says:

    rashid can you help me with some information about my project that is documentation on natural resources!!!!!!!!!!!! plzzzzz

    Like

  53. rohit kumar says:

    a well written topic…

    Like

  54. Madhumati says:

    Thank you very much! This has helped me to get the basic idea on natural resources in my school holiday assignment! Thanks a bunch!

    Like

  55. Akki..... says:

    Thanks for information about resoure classification………:D

    Like

  56. i want to be conated

    Like

  57. arshi siraj says:

    thnx alot sir,i must say a gr8 shrt note ….

    Like

  58. misha says:

    thanks alot!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  59. Sanusi segun says:

    Good and educative

    Like

  60. Hafsa thahir says:

    Hey, rashid thnxs alot. this has hlpd me to get more infrmtionts on my project wrk

    Like

  61. hema says:

    excellent work try to go another level

    Like

  62. JJ says:

    Hey Rashid, really cool stuff…… and informative……….. Thanks a lot.:-)
    Regards…..

    Like

  63. saad says:

    great job. i like it most of all .i need information on current issues regarding nrm

    Like

  64. nanai says:

    thanks a lot..:-)

    Like

  65. Mahendra says:

    mujhe project karna tha

    Like

  66. aakash says:

    thank it helped me lot

    Like

  67. hey u done a great job i appreciate u keep it up

    Like

  68. ketki joshi says:

    very good INFORMATION

    Like

  69. Rohan Patil says:

    Very useful&enjoyable,thanks

    Like

  70. Karan says:

    thanx frnd it helped me to prepare project of my school

    Like

  71. zahra says:

    heyyyy….thnxxxx alot it help me vry much to mke my project easyyyyy:))

    Like

  72. krishna sharma says:

    This is very important for me to inform natural resources

    Like

  73. Navneet Dahariya says:

    thanks your information……

    Like

  74. thanks your information…..

    Like

  75. Does your site have a contact page? I’m having a
    tough time locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail.

    I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in
    hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

    Like

  76. sanjana says:

    it was nice . it had the information i needed but it was same as the other websites

    Like

  77. yash manwani says:

    Hey rashid ,
    Thanks for ur stuff .I wanted it for my project
    I searched in wikipidea but could, nt find much . It is nice to learn about natural resources

    Like

  78. Antony says:

    This is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Short but very precise information… Thank you for sharing this
    one. A must read article!

    Like

  79. What’s up, the whole thing is going perfectly here and ofcourse every one is sharing data,
    that’s in fact good, keep up writing.

    Like

  80. sneha says:

    Thanks for definition but not info.

    Like

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