Air, water, soil, forests, animals, etc., that are provided by nature or occur naturally are called natural resources. Some of these natural resources like sunlight and wind are renewable resources. This means that they can be used again and again without being exhausted. But some like forests, minerals, oil, etc., are non-renewable.
We know that man depends on his environment. We need our environment and the things it provides us for staying alive. Animals and plants also depend on the environment for their survival. Over a period of time, we have used up a lot of these resources. We need to conserve and preserve these resources or soon they will be exhausted.
1. Preservation of forests and wild animals:
We need to stop destroying forests and cutting trees. Forests are the home to many different animals, birds and insects. Many animals like the leopard, the Indian Wild Ass, the great Indian one-horned Rhinocerous, etc. have become endangered and are close to extinction because of the destruction of their natural habitat. Trees give us wood that helps in making so many things like furniture, paper, etc. Trees help in purifying the air and also hold the soil with their roots and stop soil erosion. We must protect our forests. This can be done in the following ways :
- We must control the cutting of trees and plant more trees.
- We must prevent forest fires.
2. Converting forests to National Parks and Bird Sanctuaries:
The government has now started protecting forests by converting them into national parks and wildlife or bird sanctuaries. Cutting of trees or killing of birds and animals is not allowed here and is punishable by the law. Grazing or cultivating of the land is also prohibited. Some national parks of India are marked on the map given alongside. The Kaziranga National Park in Assam is famous for one-horned rhinoceros. Bird sanctuaries are areas where birds are protected and encouraged to breed. The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is one of the biggest bird sanctuaries in India. It houses more than 415 kinds of birds, out of which many birds like the Siberian crane, flycatchers, buntings, etc., migrate from places as far away as Siberia and China.
3. Preservation of soil:
Soil is a very important natural resource. Man and animals depend on plants for their food and plants get nourishment from the soil. So we can say that all living things depend on soil for their food. The process of wind, rain or rivers carrying away the top fertile layer of soil is called soil erosion. Cutting of trees or deforestation, strong winds in places of less vegetation (deserts), running of water bodies over the soil and overgrazing are all causes of soil erosion. We can prevent it by the following methods :
i) Forestation or planting trees as their roots hold the soil together. Cultivating the soil also provides it cover and prevents wind from blowing it away,
ii) Terrace or step farming done on slopes of hills slows the speed of water flowing down and reduces soil erosion.
iii) Building embankments on river banks prevents soil erosion by the rivers.
4. Preservation of minerals:
We must use minerals sensibly as they are non-renewable natural resources. There is only a limited amount of oil, limestone, iron, coal, etc., found in the Earth. We should use renewable and non-polluting sources of energy like solar energy, wind energy, etc., instead of coal and oil so that they can last longer.
5. Windmill is used to harness wind energy:
Though some resources like air, water, soil, etc., are renewable we should use them carefully as their pollution has affect on plants and animals too. Even a small change in environment or the quality of natural resources affects life around it.
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