Objectives, Meaning and Significance of Resource, Classification of Resources, Distribution of Biotic Resources, Distribution of Abiotic Resources

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  • Natural resources which satisfy the material and spiritual needs of humans are the free gifts of the nature. Any material which is valuable and useful for humans is termed a resource. These resources include land, water, soils, minerals, and biological livings like vegetation, wildlife, and fisheries. Every material has some utility for human beings, but its utilisation is possible on the availability of appropriate technology.

  • For example, for centuries, coal and petroleum were present below the earth’s surface, but the technology for their utilisation has been developed recently. These materials turned into resources only when they could be used. It is, therefore, human ability and need which create resource value.


The major objectives of this chapter are:

  • To recall the definition of resource

  • To explain the importance of resources

  • To describe different types of natural resources

  • To identify the distribution of biotic and abiotic resources in India

  • To give reasons for unequal utilisation of resources and their availability

  • To suggest various methods of conserving resources

  • To assess the methods of managing resources in consonance with our policies and plans

Meaning and Significance of Resource

The term resource generally means the things of utility for the humans. It could be both natural as well as cultural. Humans develop technologies to utilise nature favourably. The popular use of a technology in a natural system turns it into a culture i.e., a way of life or living. As such it attains the status of cultural resource.

  • Resources form the backbone of the economy of a nation. Without land, water, forest, air, and minerals, one cannot develop agriculture and industry.

  • They constitute natural environment like air, water, forests, and various life forms, which are essential for human survival and development.

  • By utilising natural resources, humans created their own world of houses, buildings, means of transport and communication, industries etc. These are also very useful along with natural resources and these human-made resources are essential for development.

Classification of Resources

  • Resources can be classified in several ways: on the basis of renewability, origin and utility.

  • The objective of classification would primarily decide how we put a resource under a particular category.

Classification of Resources

Classification of Resources

Image of Classification of Resources

Biotic Resources: These resources include all living elements of the environment. Forests and forest products, crops, birds, wildlife, fishes and other marine lives are the examples of biotic resources. These resources reproduce and regenerate themselves, hence, are renewable. Coal and mineral oil are also biotic resources, but they are non-renewable resources.

Abiotic Resources: These resources include all non-living elements of the environment. Land, water, air, and minerals such as iron, copper, gold, silver etc. are abiotic resources. They are exhaustible and non-renewable as they cannot be regenerated or reproduced.

Distribution of Biotic Resources


In India, at present forest areas cover about 76.5 million hectares of land, which is about 23 % of the total geographical area. It ranges from about 87 % in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to only about 4 % in Haryana making a range difference of 83 %. According to the National Forest Policy, 33 % of the total geographical area of the country should be under forest cover to maintain the ecological balance. Unfortunately, it is below the norm outlined in our forest policy. The vegetation found in India can be divided into tropical evergreen forests, tropical deciduous forests, thorn forests, tidal forests, and mountain forests.


  • India possesses a great variety of wildlife. Out of the known world’s total of 1.05 million species of animals, about 75,000 species or 7.46% are found in India.

  • India has over 1200 species of birds. Among the mammals we have the majestic elephant found in the forest of Assam, Kerala, and Karnataka. Camels and wild ass are confined to the arid areas and Runn of Kachchh in Gujarat, respectively. Indian lions are found in the Gir forests of Gujarat. One-horned rhinos are found in the swampy and marshy lands of Assam and West Bengal. Among the most handsome animals include four horned antelope or chousingha, Indian antelope or black buck and gazelle. India has several species of monkeys and deer.

  • The species of deer include Hangul (Kashmir stag), swamp deer, spotted deer, musk deer, and mouse deer. The animals belonging to the cat family are leopards, clouded leopards, and snow leopards. Several interesting animals are found in the Himalayan ranges such as wild sheep, mountain goats, ibex, Shrew, and tapir.

  • Bird life is equally rich and colourful in our country. The gorgeous peacock is India’s National Bird. In the forests and wetlands pheasants, geese, ducks, mynahs, parakeets, pigeons, cranes, hornbills, and sunbirds are found. There are songbirds like the nightingale and the bulbul.


  • India has about three-fifths or 57 % of the world’s buffalo population and about one-sixth or 15 % of the cattle population. Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa, Karnataka, and Rajasthan have over two-thirds of the cattle population of India. One-fourth of the total sheep of India is found in Rajasthan and more than half of India’s goats are found in Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh.

  • Farm animals such as ox, buffalos, and cows are used in various farm operations such as ploughing, sowing, thrashing, and transporting of farm products. However, with farm mechanization especially during Green Revolution, in the areas of north-western India, coastal Andhra and Tamil Nadu and other pockets, the importance of dwarf energy for agricultural operations is on decline. Milk is provided by the cows and she-buffalos. Sheep provide us wool, mutton, and skin. Goat supplies milk, meat, hair, hides, and skin. Chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys are reared for eggs and feathers.


  • There is a large scope for the development of fisheries in the country because of the availabilities of large continental shelf of 20 lakh square km, sufficient fish food in big lakes and rivers, oceanic currents, and skilled fishermen. Marine fishing is done in seas and oceans and inland fishing is carried out in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.

  • More than 1,800 distinct species of fish are known to exist in India. Four forms of fisheries are found in India such as marine fisheries, freshwater or inland fisheries, estuarine fisheries, and the pearl fisheries. Marine fisheries accounts for about 63 % of the annual fish production. Major fishes are sardines, mackerel, prawns, clupeoids and silver bellies.

  • About two-fifths or 37 % of the country’s total fish production comes from inland fisheries. Major fishes are catla, rohita, kalabasil, mrigal and carp etc. More than nine-tenths or 97 % of the country’s total production of marine fish and more than three-fours or 77 % of inland water fish is raised in the coastal states Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Gujarat.

Distribution of Abiotic Resources

Land Resources

India covers an area of 32,87,263 sq. km. According to the areal size, it is the seventh largest country of the world after Russia, Canada, China, U.S.A., Brazil, and Egypt. This vast size itself is the most important resource. About 30 % of the area is covered by the mountains which are source of scenic beauty, perennial rivers, home of forests, and wildlife. About 43 % of the land area is comprises of plains which is highly suitable for agriculture. Remaining about 27 % land under plateaus is the store house of minerals and metals.

Water Resources

Diversity in resources is the result of diversity in landforms in the form of glaciers, surface rivers, underground water, rains and oceans. The average annual rainfall is estimated at 117 cm. Rivers are major source of surface water in India. The Indus, the Ganga, the Brahmaputra carry about 60 % of the total surface water. Replenishable groundwater potential in India is about 434 billion cubic metres. Today, over 70 % of the population uses ground water for its domestic needs, and more than half of irrigation is obtained from this source.

Mineral Resources

India is very rich in mineral resources and has the potential to become an industrial power. It possesses large reserves of iron ore, extensive deposits of coal, mineral oil, rich deposits of bauxite, and mica. Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh possess large concentration of mineral deposits, accounting for nearly three-fourths of the country’s coal deposits. Other important minerals found in our country are iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, and radioactive minerals.

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