There are numerous importance of natural resources and we’ve carefully listed a number of them here with clear explanation.
It has earlier been stated that natural resources are necessary for the survival and sustenance of life on earth. Imagine the earth bare. Or rather coming into our planet and finding nothing. No air, water, soil, rocks, plants, animals, sun, wind, oceans, minerals, trees, forests, etc.
What could man have done? Where could man have started creating these things from? This is how important these resources are. They form the basis for further development of other resources and services.
In reality, there is no country without natural resources. Resources can be owned individually by countries or shared among countries.
Natural resources such as coal, crude oil, rubber, certain floral and fauna species, minerals are indigenous to countries where they are found. They cannot be shared among neighboring countries.
However, resources such as air are shared because the activities in a country can have effect on the air quality of a neighboring country.
In as much as natural resources are important and form the basis for further development, they have to be managed for maximum benefits. Although difficult to believe, it is a fact that the wealth and development of an area does not lie in the abundance of her resources. Rather, the ability of her citizens to harness and properly manage her resources.
This is clear in developing and developed countries. Most developing countries such as Nigeria and Congo are very rich in natural resources. Yet, on the other hand, countries such as Singapore are said to be impoverished in natural resources yet, are developed.
Furthermore, countries such as Saudi Arabia have successfully developed themselves through their natural resources.
To understand the subject matter better, you should care to learn about the classification of natural resources under which every natural resource both known and unknown are classified.
Let us look at some of the numerous awesome benefits of natural resources.
Importance of Natural Resources
- Natural Capital
- Energy Supply
- Raw Materials for Industries
- Medical Value
- Basis for Further Scientific Studies
- Employment Opportunities
- National Development
- Ecosystem Services
Natural Capital: The term ‘natural capital’ was first used in 1973 by E.F. Schumacher in his book Small Is Beautiful and was developed further by Herman Daly, Robert Costanza, and other founders of the science of Ecological Economics.
According to the World Forum on Natural Capital, natural capital is the world’s stock of natural resources. They are assets such as soils, waters, air and all living organisms. They are assets that provide us with free materials and essential services.
Energy Supply: Natural resources such as solar radiation, wind, geothermal heat, water, tides, fossil fuels and biomass are used in generating energy.
Food: Humans depend solely on natural resources for food. These food sources are plants, aquatic organisms and other animals. All classes of food nutrients needed by man are provided by nature.
Raw Materials for Industries: The petroleum industry derives her raw material (crude oil) from reservoirs of long deposited fossils. It is not the only industry that relies on natural resources for the supply of raw materials.
The textile industry, construction industry, power sector and food industries utilize natural resources such as hide and skin; natural fibres; minerals; solar radiation; plants and animals for production..
Medical Value: Herbs are used in their raw or modified forms in the medical field to cure ailments and diseases. 80 percent of the world population depends on plants for medicine.
Products isolated from fungi, bacteria, plants and viruses are used as vaccines against certain diseases. Titanium, an element found in ores in the earth’s crust is used in prosthetics.
Basis for Further Scientific Studies: The existence of natural resources forms the basis for further scientific studies.
Shelter: Timber from trees, cement from limestone, sand and gravel, mud bamboo sticks, metals from ores are all materials used for shelter. These are derived from the earths stock of resources.
Employment Opportunities: Stages involved in the development of natural resources from raw form to finished products provide employment opportunities. These stages require manual imput and brainstorming.
For instance, crude oil exploration and production involves the following processes; Drilling, Exploration, Production, Transportation, Refining and Distribution.
Each of these processes require professionals and a wide range of skill set for smooth running of the industry.
National Development: For countries that properly manage their natural resources, these resources have contributed greatly to their Gross Domestic Product. Sadly, it is ironic that countries with the most abundant resources are underdeveloped.
This can be attributed to the high levels of corruption, extortion, and poor governance that accompany resource wealth.
In order to abate corruption and improve resources among resource-rich countries, Lawson-Remer argues that there is need to improve cooperation among three groups: “capital-exporting countries, international financial institutions, and private sector companies.
Ecosystem Services: Ecosystem services are benefits derived from nature and the environment.
These services include supporting services (e.g water cycle, nutrient cycle, soil formation and photosynthesis); regulatory services (e.g pollination, climate regulation and water purification); cultural services (e.g aesthetics) and provision services (e.g food, water and shelter). Natural resources contribute to these services. Oceans as a natural resource are part of the hydrology cycle which is an ecosystem supporting services.