Resources are any objects or substances that provide us with utility and satisfy human needs. Everything available in our environment which can be used to satisfy our needs, provided, it is technologically accessible, economically feasible, and culturally acceptable can be termed ‘Resource’. The most important feature of a resource is that it has utility. Any substance which cannot be used or does not perform any function is not considered a resource.
Furthermore, to recognize it as a resource, the object or substance should be accessible to humans. Humans interact with the natural environment through technology and create institutions to transform things in nature into resources.
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Types of Resources
Resources are broadly classified into natural and human resources. Resources that are drawn from nature are called natural resources. The soil, minerals, and water in lakes, rivers, and oceans, are all examples of natural resources. The resources which involve man are called human resources. People use natural resources to make buildings, bridges, roads, machinery, and vehicles, which are known as human-made resources. The resources may also be classified on the basis of origin, exhaustibility, ownership, and status of development.
Resources On the Basis of Origin
Biotic and Abiotic resources are the Types of Resources based on their origin.
1. Biotic Resources
All living elements of the environment are included in these resources. Biologic resources include forests and forest products, crops, birds, wildlife, fish, and other marine life. These resources self-replicate and regenerate, making them renewable. Coal and mineral oil are biotic resources as well, but they are not renewable.
2. Abiotic Resources
All non-living elements of the environment are included in this category. Abiotic resources include land, water, air, and minerals such as iron, copper, gold, and silver. They are finite and non-renewable because they cannot be replenished or reproduced.
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Resources On the Basis of Exhaustibility
These are the types of resources on the basis of Exhaustibility.
1. Flow or Inexhaustible Resources
An inexhaustible resource is one that never depletes or runs out. Wind, sun, solar energy, tides, and geothermal energy are examples of such resources. Because they are mostly naturally occurring resources, they reappear naturally.
2. Fund or Exhaustible or Non-renewable Resources
Nonrenewable resources form slowly or do not form naturally in the environment. Minerals are the most common type of resource in this category. From a human standpoint, resources are non-renewable when their rate of consumption exceeds their rate of replenishment/recovery; fossil fuels are an example of this because their rate of formation is extremely slow (potentially millions of years), making them non-renewable.
Some resources deplete naturally without human intervention, the most notable of which are radioactive elements like uranium, which naturally decay into heavy metals. Metallic minerals, on the other hand, can be recycled and reused, whereas coal and petroleum cannot. It takes millions of years to replenish them once they have been depleted.
3. Renewable Resources
Natural replenishment of renewable resources is possible. Some of these resources, such as sunlight, air, wind, and water, are always available and their quantities are unaffected by human consumption. Although many renewable resources do not recover as quickly, they are vulnerable to depletion due to overuse. In terms of human use, resources are classified as renewable if the rate of replenishment/recovery exceeds the rate of consumption. In comparison to non-renewable resources, they replenish quickly.
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Resources On the Basis of Nature of Ownership
Below are the Types of Resources on the Basis of the Nature of Ownership.
1. Individual Resources
Individual resources are those that are owned by private individuals. For instance, a house, a car, a book, and so on. Community Resources: Resources that are owned by all community members. For example, public parks, playgrounds, and so on.
2. National Resources
National resources are all resources that are under the control of the state or union government. Because the government has the authority to acquire private property for the public good, all resources within political boundaries are considered national resources. Railways and forests are two examples.
3. International Resources
There are international institutions that regulate some resources. These resources are called international resources. For example, oceanic resources beyond 200 nautical miles of the Exclusive Economic Zone belong to the open ocean. No individual country can utilize these resources without the permission of an international institution.
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Resources On the Basis of Status of Development
Resources are classified into four categories based on their stage of development: potential, developed, stock, and reserve.
1. Potential Resources
These are resources that have been found in a region but have not yet been utilized. For example, there is huge potential for solar and wind energy in Gujarat, most of which remains untapped.
2. Developed Resources
Resources that have been well developed and are now in use. Their quantity and quality have been determined. For example, coal and petroleum. These are resources that have been utilized by a man using technical know-how.
3. Stock and Reserves
Stocks are resources that are unutilized due to a lack of technical knowledge and scientific development. For example, we know water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen. This hydrogen can be used to generate energy. However, at present, we do not have the necessary technical know-how to utilize it for energy. Reserves are a part of the stock. They are resources that can be used with existing technical knowledge but their utilization has not yet started. For example, a reserve of minerals.
A resource is anything that has value and is required to achieve a specific goal. The term “resource” refers to all of the materials in our environment that help us meet our needs and desires. With the passage of time and the advancement of technology, an item becomes a resource. This article discusses the resources and their types that are useful for the UPSC IAS exam.
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