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Natural resources are what occurs in nature in their original, untouched form - unless of course man disturbs this. They consist of all things that do not come under man-made creations, where what we see around us that takes its course without the intervention of humans, is what would account as a natural resource. From rivers to mountains, to precious stones and minerals, the earth is abundant with resources that develop on the planet using its surrounding environment to help it thrive or take form.
There are natural resources that we are all familiar with, where we're taught in school about these in much detail.
List of Natural Resources
  1. Forest resources (pertaining to plant and tree life)
  2. Aquatic / Marine resources
  3. Hydro geological resources (water bodies of all kinds)
  4. Animal resources (domesticated animals, or those that can be easily approached by humans)
  5. Microbial resources (organisms that aren't visible to the naked eye)
  6. Human resources (the population at large)
  7. Atmospheric resources (anything that humans cannot control - rainfall, sunlight, temperature, and the like)
  8. Crop resources (agricultural growth)
  9. Geological resources (naturally occurring formations - rocks, valleys, minerals, precious metals, and the like)
  10. Edaphic resources (anything related to the soil and its properties)
  11. Wildlife resources
Natural Resources and Their Uses
Soil
Soil as a Natural Resource
Soil is used for growing crops (only 10% of the earth's surface). It can also be used for shelter.
Many tribal people around the world create shelters with the help of soil.
Water
Water as a Natural Resource
The water from rivers is used to generate hydro-electricity.
Water is used for drinking (only 0.0007% of earth's water is suitable for drinking. The rest is salt water, water trapped in glaciers, or polluted.
Freshwater is used for irrigation of crops.
Water bodies such as oceans, lakes, and rivers of the world can be used for transportation.
Fishing is a valuable source of food within certain water bodies.
Minerals
Minerals as a Natural Resource
Minerals can be defined as naturally occurring substances obtained from the ground. Some examples are coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron, copper, gold, etc. They are also absorbed by plants from the earth's surface, and are transferred to humans through food.
Minerals (coal, natural gas, and fossil fuels) are a source of energy.
Minerals are used as ingredients to make other materials like iron ore, steel, and petroleum.
Petroleum is used to make a variety of by-products like gasoline, plastic, etc.
Minerals can be used in its natural form like salt.
Vegetation
Vegetation as a Natural Resource
Land is used for farming from which vegetables, grains, and fruits are grown.
Land is used for farming from which vegetables, grains, and fruits are grown.
Wood from trees is cut and processed to make furniture for homes and to provide for construction materials.
Vegetation used for cooking and also as fuel to produce heat for warmth.
Clothing - clothes are made from cotton.
Plants are used as an ingredient in medicines.
Animals
Animals as a Natural Resource
Animals are used as food, and their waste is used as fertilizer for crops.
We get fur and hide from animals which are both used for making clothes.
Animals are also used for transportation.
Natural resources can further be defined as renewable and non-renewable resources. Renewable resources are those that can be produced again, for example, plants and animals, whereas, nonrenewable resources are those which cannot be produced again, for example, fossil fuels. The latter is exhaustible and needs to be carefully utilized to leave enough for future generations.
We need to make serious attempts to use natural resources in an efficient manner because in recent years, these resources have depleted as a result of their careless use. The seriousness of the problem can be understood from the words of former American president Theodore Roosevelt, "The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem, it will avail us little to solve all others."