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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 as a `Resource`.

Classification of resources

Resources can be classified in the following ways:-

  1. On the basis of origin- Biotic and Abiotic
  2. On the basis of exhaustability- Renewable and Non- renewable.
  3. On the basis of ownership – individual, community, national and international
  4. On the basis of status of development – potential, developed , stock and reserves.


  1. On the basis of Origin

On the basis of origin resources are classified into two types:

  1. Biotic resources: These resources include all living components. Example- human beings, flora and fauna,fisheries, livestock etc.
  2. Abiotic resources: All those things which are composed of non-living components are called abiotic resources. Example- rocks and minerals


  1. On the basis of exhaustability

On the basis of exhaustability , resources are classified as:

  1. Renewable resources: The resources which can be renewed or replenished by physical, chemical or mechanical processes are known as renewable resources. Example- solar and wind energy, forests and wildlife, etc.
  2. Non-renewable resources: The resources which cannot be renewed or replenished over a short period of time and take millions of years to get replenished are called Non- renewable resources.

Example: Minerals and Fossil fuels.

  1. On the basis of ownership

On the basis of ownership resources can be classified as:

  1. Individual resources:These resources are owned privately by individuals.

Example: Farms,Plantation, plots, houses, etc.

  1. Community owned resources: The resources which are accessible to all the members of the

community are called community resources.

Example- Village Commons, burial grounds, public parks,playgrounds, etc.

  • National resources: Technically , all the resources belong to the nation.

The country has legal powers to acquire even private property for public good.

Example: All the minerals,all the resourcs within the territorial waters,  forests, wildlife,land within the political boundaries, etc.

  1. International resources: The oceanic resources beyond 200 nautical miles of the Exclusive Economic Zone belong to open ocean.

These resources are governed by international institutions.No country can utilise these without the due approval of these international institutions.

  1. On the basis of Status of Development
  2. Potential resources: These are the resources which are available but have not been utilised.

Example- Rajasthan and Gujarat have enormous potential for the development of wind and solar energy.

  1. Developed resources: These are the resources which have been surveyed and their quality and quantity have been determined for utilisation.

Example: Coal, iron ore ,etc.

  • Stock: These are the minerals in the environment which have the potential to satisfy human needs but human beings do not have the technology to access these. These are called stock.

Example: Hydrogen present in water is a rich source of energy, but we do not have the technology to use it for this purpose.

  1. Reserves: These are the subset of the stock which can be put to use with the available technology but their use has not been started.

Example : Unutilised waters in forests.

       Problems due to indiscriminate use of resources:

  1. Depletion of resources for satisfying the greed of a few individuals.
  2. Accumulation of resources in a few hands leading to inequality in society.
  • It has led to global warming, ozone layer depletion, environmental pollution and land degradation.

     Need of Resource planning/Sustainable Development

  1. The resources if used at current indiscriminate pace , will lead to global shortage , issues of haves and have nots, ecological crisis and will hamper the development in the future.
  2. The resources thus need to be used in a manner which ensures sustained quality of life.
  • Therefore , for sustainable existence, resource planning is essential.
  1. The sustainable existence will ensure sustainable development where resources are used in such a way that they satisfy the needs of the present as well as the future generations.

Sustainable development

Sustainable development means development in the present should not compromise with the needs of the future generations.

Need of resource planning in India

India has enormous diversity in terms of resources.

There are regions which are rich or self sufficient in terms of some resources, whereas there are regions which are deficient in or have acute shortage of some resources.

This diversity can be attributed to the diversity in the physical features.


  1. The states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and MadhyaPradesh are rich in minerals and coal deposits.
  2. Arunachal Pradesh has abundance of water resources but lack in infrastructural development.
  • The state of rajasthan is very well endowed with solar energy but lacks in water resource.

This diversity leads to imbalance in the development of these regions .

To achieve a balance of growth between all these regions and to ensure equitable and proper distribution of the resources, resource planning is must in India.

Earth Summit ( 1992)

Place: Rio de Janeiro

Agenda: to address urgent problems of environmental protection and socio economic development at the global level.

Attended by: Over 100 heads of states.

Resolutions adopted

  1. Declaration on Global Climate Change and Biological Diversity.
  2. Endorsed global Forest principles.
  • Adopted agenda 21 for achieving sustainable development.


Agenda 21

  1. It is a Declaration on Global Climate Change and Biological Diversity , signed by world leaders in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
  2. It is an agenda to combat environmental damage, poverty, disease through global co-operation.
  • One major objective was that every local government should draw its own local Agenda 21.

Conservation of resources

Gandhiji said, “ There is enough for everybody`s need and not for anybody`s greed”

According to him the greedy and selfish individuals and the exploitative nature of modern technology is the root cause for resource depletion at the global level.

 Irrational consumption and over utilisation of resources has led to many socio-economic problems and environmental issues.

Thus an urgent need of resource conservation was felt at the global level.

Steps taken at the global level for resource conservation

1968- Club of Rome advocated resource conservation for the first time in a more systematic way.

1974 –Gandhian philosophy on sustainable development was presented by Schumacher in his book small is beautiful.

1987- Brundtland commission Report- This report introduced the concept of ‘Sustainable development’ and advocated it as a means for resource conservation, which was subsequently published in a book ‘ Our Common Future’.

1992: Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Land Resources

Land utilisation

Land resources are used for the following purposes :

  1. Forests
  2. Land not available for cultivation
  3. Barren and waste land
  4. Land put to non-agricultural uses, e.g. buildings,roads,factories,etc.
  5. Other uncultivated land(excluding fallow land)
  6. Permanent pastures and grazing land.
  7. Land under miscellaneous tree crops groves(not included in net sown area)
  8. Culturable waste land (left uncultivated for more than 5 agricultural years)
  9. Fallow lands
  10. Current fallow land( left uncultivated for more than 5 agricultural years)
  11. Other than current fallow ( left uncultivated for the past 1 to 5 agricultural years).
  12. Net sown area : Area sown more than once in an agricultural year plus net sown area is known as gross cropped area.

Land use Pattern in India

  • The use of Land is determined both by physical factors such as topography, climate, soil types as well as human factors such as population density, technological capability and culture and traditions etc.
  • Land use data is available only for 93% of the total geographical area of 3.28 million
  • As per the data the land under permanent pasture has decreased.
  • The NSA percentage in India is about 54% of the total reporting area .
  • Most of the other than the current fallow lands are either of poor quality or have a high cost of cultivation and as such are cultivated only once or twice in a period of two to three years.
  • The pattern of NSA varies from state to state. E.g. Haryana- 80% of the total area., Arunachal Pradesh – less than 10% of the total area.
  • Forest area is well below the desired 33%.

National Forest Policy was adopted in 1952 to preserve forets to maintain ecological balance.

Land Degradation

Definition : Land degradation is the change in the land composition pattern rendering it undesirable and by which the land loses its productivity  and the potential to sustain its va;lue .

Continuous use of land over a long period of time without taking appropriate measures to conserve and manage it , causes land degradation.

Factors causing land degradation

  • Deforestation: Diminishing due to  construction and other developmental activities has led to serious land degradation issues.
  • Mining: deforestation due to mining and quarrying have also significantly contributed to land degradation.Ex- Chhattisgarh , Madhya Pradesh and Odisha
  • Overgrazing: In states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh overgrazing is one of the main reasons for land degradation.
  • Over irrigation: It causes water logging leading to increase in salinity and alkalinity in the soil thereby rendering soil useless.Ex- Punjab, haryan and Western UttarPradesh.
  • Mineral processing: Grinding of limestone for cement industry and calcite and soapstone for ceramic industry generate huge quantity of dust in the atmosphere.It settles down on the land and thus retards the process of infiltration of water into the soil.
  • Industrial effluents: The waste generated by industries also degrades the land.

Soil as a Resource

It is a renewable natural resource.

The soil is a living system.

Factors affecting the soil formation:

  • Relief
  • Parent Rock
  • Climate
  • Vegetation
  • Other forms of life
  • Time Period
Soil Type Alluvial Soil Black Soil Red and Yellow soil Arid Soil Laterite Soil Forest Soil
It is made up of sand, silt and clay.
It is made up of Lava flows
Red soil develops on crystalline igneous rocks in areas of low rainfall
Sandy in texture and saline in nature.
It is a result of intense leaching due to heavy rain.
The texture of these soils varies according to the mountain environment
Most Fertile Soil
It is made up of extremely fine clayey material.
They develop a reddish colour due to diffusion of iron in crystalline and metamorphic rocks.
Lack humus and moisture due to high evaporation rate.
Low humus content.
Loamy and silty in valley sides.
rich in Potash, Phosphoric acid and lime
Rich in Calcium Carbonate, magnesium, Potash and lime.
It looks yellow when in a hydrated form.
This soil develops in areas with high temperature and heavy rainfall.
coarse and grained in the upper sides.
Old Alluvial soil- Bangar
It has a high capacity to hold water.
It is a typical feature of the southern parts of the Deccan plateau, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Southern parts of the Ganga plain and along the piedmont zone of the Western Ghats.
These soil is a typical feature of Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat
Acidic with low humus content in areas of snow.
It has higher concentration of kankar nodules
These soils are sticky and wet and need to be tilled immediately after first shower of rains.
These soils are mainly found in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and the hiily areas of Odisha and Assam.
It is less fertile.
It is also known as regur soil and Black cotton soil.
Found in hilly and mountainous areas.
New Alluvial Soil- Khadar
Lower parts of the valleys.
It has fine particles
This soil is typical feature of Deccan trap region
It is highly fertile.
It covers the plateaus of maharashtra, Saurashtra, Malwa, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Also found along the Krishna and Godavari Valleys in South
Entire Northern plains formed by The Indus , the ganga and the Brahmaputra are made of Alluvial Soil
Eastern coastal plains formed by the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Kaveri also are made of alluvial soil.
States : Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana

Soil Erosion


The denudation of the soil cover and subsequent washing down is described as soil erosion.

  • Human Factors responsible for soil erosion:
  • Deforestation
  • Overgrazing
  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Physical Factors responsible for soil erosion:
  • Wind , melting glacier and water.
  • Gullies: The running water cuts through the clayey soils and makes deep channels called gullies.
  • Bad land; The land that becomes unfit for cultivation due to excessive erosion is called bad land.
  • Ravines: In the Chambal basin eroded bad lands are called ravines.
  • Sheet erosion: Sometimes water flows as a sheet over large areas down a slopewashing away the top soil. This is known as sheet erosion.
  • Wrong ploughing methods: Ploughing up and down the slope form channels for the quick flow of water leads to soil erosion.

Methods of soil conservation

Contour ploughing: It is ploughing along the contour lines to decelerate the flow of water down the slope.

Terrace farming: Steps are cut out on the slopes making terraces to prevent soil erosion.

Strip farming: Large fields are divided into strips where grass is left to grow between the strips to break the force of winds preventing soil erosion.

Shelter Belts: Planting trees in rows to create shelter in dry and coastal and desert areas to prevent soil erosion .