Resources: Meaning, Types of Resources with Examples and their Uses in Geography

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Resources in a wider sense may be grouped into renewable or non-renewable resource. It is renewable when we talk of crops and other forest resources which may take a short period of time to grow and be harvested while the non- renewable resources are those things that take millions of years to form and these are usually found deep down the earth crust. There is an increasing demand for natural resources from a rapid growing global population; especially those in most developed countries, the world’s resources are being used up more quickly. The consumption of resources is spread unequally between most developed worlds that use more resources than the less developed world.

What are Resources?

Resources are defined as the possessions of a country in the form of wealth and goods that helps one to achieve what he wants (Dictionary of contemporary English, 1985). In actual senseresources are defined as materials, money, energy, assets, services, staff, knowledge, or other assets that are transformed to produce benefit and in the process may be consumed or made unavailable. They are distributed all over the earth and have specific importance such at create wealth or wants, aids in proper functioning of a system, or enhances the wellbeing of people.

Resource meaning

Resource is any means of support or anything a man or a country uses to take care or support himself or the nation. According to the Chamber dictionary, resource is defined as a source of possibility of help or means of raising money to support oneself. It could be any form of human and natural appraisal, which varies overtime and space. However, resources refers to the sum total of wealth or sources of wealth of a person or country.

Based on the above definitions, resource can be classified or grouped under two main categories; natural and human resources. It is important to note that the use of natural resources is controlled by certain factors. The factors include the level of technology, population, demand, capital and government policy. Resources are not evenly distributed on the surface of the earth; some places are well endowed while some other places are not. In some developing countries, the most important resources are the agricultural products and large expanse of water bodies which are used for the generation of hydroelectric power, tourism, irrigation and fishing

Different Types of Resources

  1. Natural resources
  2. Human resources
  3. Environmental resources
  4. Mineral resources
  5. Water resources
  6. Vegetation resources

Natural Resources

Natural resources are resources, which are not and cannot be provided for by man through his initiative skills, but are only provided for by nature itself or by the Almighty deity. They are technologically accessible,economicallyfeasible andculturally acceptable. Anatural resourcemay exist as a separate entity such as fresh water,air, and as well as a living organism such as a fish, or it may exist in an alternate form that must be processed to obtain the resource such asmetal ores,rare earth metals,petroleum, and most forms of energy. Natural resources which are widely scattered all over the earth and are unevenly distributed , these include the flora and fauna, the mineral deposits, water bodies, consisting of sea, river, ocean streams and lake, weather and climate, wind, rocks and other naturally occurring resources. Examples of the mineral resources are crude oil, soil, iron ore, gold, tin, silver, bauxite, and bronze. Various forms of agricultural resources include food stocks (rice, sorghum, cocoa, cotton, coffee, and palm produce). The power resources include coal, crude oil and water for hydroelectric power generation, natural gas, the nuclear and the solar sources of power generation. Land is an important resource because it determines a lot of human activities particularly in the areas of agriculture.

Human Resources

Human resources are those resources that cannot be touched or felt, rather they are found in human ingenuity of the population but this is perhaps the most important type of resources for the effective functioning and coordination of a country. Human resources are the most important and vital for the economic development, they are the agent of development. They act as an asset for coordinating other resources due to the wide knowledge.

Environmental Resources

Environmental resource are those things which are endowed by nature, they are referred to as elements of the human environment such as the organic and inorganic material plants (both natural and built resources) which are of great value to man, animal and. The difference between natural resources and environmental resources is that natural resources are provided by the earth, or by Mother Nature, while environmental resources are something that can be taken from the environment. Examples of environmental resources include food from plants and animals, wood for cooking, heating, and building, metals,coal and oil.

Mineral Resources

Mineral resources are natural resources endowed by nature which are found in rocks in several layers within the earth surface and beneath usually in small quantity. Examples of mineral resources include minerals like Gold, Silver, Tin, Copper, Lead, Zinc, Iron, Nickel, Chromium, and Aluminium.

Water Resources

Water resources water resources are those things that are derived from water bodies and are of great benefits to man and his environment. Water resources are also referred to sources of water that are useful or potentially useful. Uses of water include for agricultural uses, generation of electricity, industrial uses, household uses, recreational uses and environmental activities. Some sources of water include, rain, sea, stream, lake, pond, bore hole and well.

Vegetation Resources

Vegetation resources are those things, which are derived from the forest, and savannah vegetation and are of immerse important to man, animals and plants, it is a key component of an ecosystem and, as such, is involved in the regulation of various biogeochemical cycles, e.g. water, carbon, nitrogen. Vegetationprovides habitat to wildlife and ecosystem services such as food and fuel, timber, cash crops, pulp, fruits, robes, clothes and many game reserve.

Uses of Resources to Man

  1. Wind is a natural resource harnesses for powering windmills, it helps to modify weather and climatic conditions of various places in the world.
  2. Solar energy helps in warming the earth, it aids in drying of clothes and also natural source of vitamin D.
  3. Rain is an important source of water, which aids plant growth; it is an important source of underground water for man and animals use.
  4. Minerals provide raw materials for industrial uses, the major types of minerals include crude oil which are refined into (petrol, diesel, natural gas), limestone for cement and feldspar for ceramics.
  5. Mineral resources promote the growth of settlements in different locations of the world and also helps to boast the economics of the country. It also promotes development of infrastructure such as electricity, pipe borne water and construction of road, bridges and rails.
  6. Water resources like the ocean, river and lake are often used as means of transportation for conveying people and goods from one location to another; various water bodies are also used for the generation of electricity.
  7. Large water bodies such as ocean, rivers and lakes help provide employment opportunities for ship builder, fishermen, canoe carvers and host of others.
  8. Forest and savannah vegetation serve as tourist centres which generate foreign exchange earnings to the countries where they are located. Vegetation is also a source economic trees which are cut down as timbers (Iroko, a Mahogany Seder capfor etc.), these trees in turn produce planks used as materials for construction furniture and buildings.
  9. Forest trees give us oxygen, food and also various types of rare animals and economic plants that can be used for medicine and other purposes.
  10. A lot of cash crops, foods crops, fruits and seeds are derived from the vegetation which now serves as food for man. Similarly, animals are equally gotten from the wilds, which serve as sources of protein for man.
  11. Human resources are the basis for labour supply needed for the positive economic growth and development. However, countries with large population coupled with technological development are able to tap their natural resources since all entail human effort.


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