What Are Classification of Natural Resources

One of the fundamental issues in educational literature on environmental management is the question of the classification of natural resources. There are several classifications of natural resources depending on the characteristics, but which this classification is carried out.

According to the classification of the natural components of the environment (natural classification ), resources are divided into land (soil), water, climate, mineral and raw materials (minerals), and biological.

The last two species are widely involved in international trade. As a rule, the term “biological resources” usually means a set of organisms that can be used by humans directly or indirectly for consumption (forest, plant, fish, hunting, etc.).

The Convention on Biological Diversity defines biological resources as genetic resources, organisms or their parts, populations, or any other biotic components of ecosystems that have actual or potential utility or value for humanity .According to geographical classification, biological natural resources are divided into two main types: terrestrial biological resources and aquatic biological resources.

Biological natural resources in accordance with the biological classification are also divided into two main types:

  • animal resources as a set of terrestrial animal bioresources, including commercial and non-commercial species, and aquatic biological resources, including marine and freshwater mammals, fish and invertebrates;
  • plant bioresources as a set of wood resources, including forest and timber; non-timber resources, including food, medicinal, technical, melliferous, fodder and other plant resources; as well as seaweed.

Forestry specialists subdivide forest resources into woody, technical, food, fodder, medicinal and other resources. In general, forest resources are forest products and utilities that are replicable in the process of forest management and used in social production [2] .

Mineral resources belong to exhaustible resources and in the direction of use are divided into three groups: energy resources (oil, gas, coal, oil shale, peat); metal ores (ores of ferrous, non-ferrous, rare, noble metals); non-metallic (chemical raw materials, technical ores, building materials).

In connection with the problem of limited reserves of natural resources, the importance of classification based on their exhaustibility increases , in accordance with which natural resources are divided into exhaustible and inexhaustible. Exhaustible natural resources are divided into renewable and non-renewable. The classification of natural resources according to the signs of exhaustion and renewal is given in the form of a diagram in fig. 1.2.

According to GOST R 52104-2003 renewable resources– part of the natural resources within the cycle of substances in the biosphere, capable of self-healing in terms commensurate with the timing of human activities (vegetation, animal life, oxygen in the atmosphere, etc.). For example, the population of commercial fish species and other biological resources may recover; the water level in the reservoir can be restored naturally after the dry season; self-cleaning of a reservoir after its pollution is possible.

However, in each of the examples given, a number of conditions must be met to restore a resource, for example, the nature and amount of pollutants, a sufficient degree of flow, temperature and composition of water, the type of its basin, the number and composition of hydrobionts – plants, animals and microorganisms – inhabitants of the reservoir, etc. Butself-healingperhaps not always: if a population of a commercial species has been destroyed, then it will take either considerable time to heal itself, or you will have to take certain actions but transport the minimum required number of individuals for breeding, creating certain conditions for them.

If an ecosystem has been destroyed, then a similar, but different ecosystem may appear in its place – not all ecosystems are capable of self-restoration, as a result, vegetation and wildlife will recover and, most likely, there will be species that were part of the lost ecosystem , but these will be only parts of the ecosystem that existed earlier, the ecosystem itself, in the form in which it existed, will not be restored. For example, to recreate tropical forests after their cutting down or wetlands after their drainage and intensive peat development is not possible in its former form, precisely because of the unique conditions of their formation. In such cases, it is more correct to talk about the partial restoration of potentially renewable resources.

If one or another biological species was destroyed, while preserving its genetic materials, in the future, perhaps with the development of appropriate technologies, it is potentially possible to recreate it, but not at the present time. Thus, in each specific case, when we argue about renewable resources, it is necessary to understand what kind of renewal we are talking about: complete self-healing; full recovery, but with the help of man; partial natural recovery; partial artificial restoration.

by Abdullah Sam
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