NATURAL RESOURCES, THEIR IMPORTANCE AND WAYS OF CONSERVATION
Natural resources are nature’s gift to man, to maintain comfortable and peaceful life. Human beings have the responsibility of conserving the resources by taking the right steps. This will help to maintain the environmental balance and satisfy the needs to the fullest. For this reason it is important to convey to people by arranging seminar and conference, in order to educate the public by environmental experts. Fast depletion of the resources such as forests, natural gas, wildlife, oil, petrol etc is the biggest concern. The reason for this depletion is the improper and excessive use and the growing population, that put a tremendous strain on the nature. A planned and prudent use can protect the resources from getting extinct. A nation resource often determines its wealth and status in the world economic system, by determining its political influence. Resource are known as capital converted to commodity inputs to infrastructural capital processes. A wide range of industrial material and biological material from plant and animal, directly or indirectly are used in production and in manufacturing of medicine.
Natural Resources can be defined as what occur in nature in original untouched form, unless man disturbed it. Natural resources consist of all things that do not come under man-made creations. It can also be referred to those resources that are seen around the environment that take its form without human intervention. The earth is abound at with different natural resources which develop out of the natural environmental surrounding such as rivers,, mountains, precious stone and mineral (Sourabh, 2012).
The natural resources of a country influence not only the economic growth, but also the economic structure. The type of natural resources available in a country sequel to its quantity, quality and distribution within the different regions of the country determine the type and scale of industries that can be developed. It also increases the economic growth in terms of rise in market productivity which enhances economic and social-wellbeing of people (Robert,1997).
The growth rate of the country’s economy is determined by how human activities and institution try to conserve and manage the resources found in the country. Management refers to the decision taken on a daily basis in the use of natural resources, its harvest and utilization and how it affects the long term sustainability of the resources. This involves the proper monitoring of the resources in respect to present needs and future use. When natural resources are wisely used in a sustainable manner, it gives a tremendous potential to accelerate economic development (Sourabh,2012).
To control and maintain economic development and social-wellbeing of the people, there must be some laws that guild the use of natural resources. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency Decree Number 59 of 1992 gave a comprehensive national policy for protection of the natural environment. The impact of the policy brought about the assessment and designing of any development project by the Environmental Agency (Babangida, 1992).
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as the National Legal Order, recognizes the importance of improving and protecting the environment and made provision for it. Relevant sections in section 20 made it an objective of the Nigerian State to improve and protect air, land, water, forest and wildlife of Nigeria (Terry,2001).
Natural Resources in Nigeria that need to be protected can be found in different regions and locations. Some of the States where oil and gas are found are Cross-River, Rivers State, Akwa-Ibom, Imo, Delta etc,. Coal is found in Enugu, Cocoa is found in Ondo and Iron is found in Ajaokuta. Cement is found in Nkalagu, Kwekoro, Calaba etc, (Roosvelt, 1993).
TYPES AND BENEFITS OF NATURAL RESOURCES
2.1 TYPES OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Forest Resources, Timber
Air, Wind Energy
Sunlight, Tidal Energy
Precious Stone such as Gold, Diamond
Lime Stone, cement, gravel
Fossil fuel such as coal, petroleum, natural gas
Classification of Natural Resources: can bedone in different criteria, such as the basis of origin. The two categories of resources are biotic and abiotic resources. Biotic resources extracted from the biosphere can be obtained in the raw forms or by means of cultivation through agriculture. Most of the biotic resources are non-renewable in nature, such as petroleum and natural gas which formed through years of decomposition of organic matters. The organic matter can be known as the remains of plants and animal. Examples of biotic resources are Timber, Petroleum, Fruits, Natural gas and wax etc, (Thompson,, 2003).
Abiotic resources are the non-living and non-organic materials which are in different forms, such as crud, coal, diamond, air, water, gravel, salt, etc. Natural resources can also be classified in a manner that helps to know the fast-depleting nature of the resources. Some natural resources can be renewed while some cannot be renewed. The renewable resources are the ones that can be produced again such as plants and animals. Whereas non-renewable resources are those which cannot be produced again, such as fossilfuel timber etc, (Darner, 2009).
Natural Resources can be classified on the basis of the stage of development which is known as potential resources. Potential resources are those that exist in region and may be used in the future. An example of such is mineral oil, that are found in sedimentary rocks, but until the time it is dilled out and put into use, it remains a potential resources. Most of the resources are materials in the environment which have the potential to satisfy human needs, but there is no appropriate technological means to access it. These resources are hydrogen and oxygen which are two inflammable gasses present in water, but there is no technology to use it from water (Sourabh,2012).
2.2 BENEFITS OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Natural resources provide and solve daily needs of man such as clothing, shelter, and food, through farming and rearing of animal for domestic and commercial uses. Man can earn, invest and save money from farm produce. Agricultural productivity have unlimited access to improved proper managed irrigation (Lekwa, 1996).
Proper managed irrigation makes agriculture an unseasonal phenomenon and this enhance sufficient production of agricultural goods such as crops, grains, nuts, rubber. Natural resources also contribute immensely to the boosting up of the national economy in the sense that the national income is increased. Examples of such product are cocoa, rubber, coal, wild managa etc, which can be exported to foreign countries. The availability of such product in the country will also attract foreign investors and this create employment opportunities (Terry,2001).
There are different variety of natural resources which can be used in different ways. Most plants and animals have medicinal value that can be used to manufacture drugs. A significant proportion of drugs are derived directly or indirectly from biological source that are found in natural compound from plants and animals. Medicinal drugs derived from natural souces make important global contribution to health care of the people. Many of these natural chemicals cannot be manufactured synthetically (Heasman, et al 1985).