Resources – Types of resources, Uses of resources

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What is a Resource?

A resource is a source or supply from where benefits are produced.

An item becomes a resource with time and developing technology. Typically resources are materials, energy, services, staff, knowledge, or other assets that are transformed to produce benefit and in the process may be consumed or made unavailable.

Benefits of resource utilization may include increased wealth, proper functioning of a system, or enhanced wellbeing.

Types of resources:

Natural Resources:

Natural resources are derived from the environment. Many natural resources are essential for human survival, while others are used for satisfying human desire. Conservation is the management of natural resources with the goal of sustainability. Natural resources may be further classified in different ways
1. Based on Origin:

In biology and ecology a resource is defined as a substance that is required by a living organism for normal growth, maintenance, and reproduction.

Biotic & abiotic resources

  • Biotic Resourcesare obtained from biosphere and have life such as human beings, flora and fauna, fisheries, livestock etc.
  • Abiotic Resourcesare composed of non-living things, e.g., rocks and metals.
  1. Based on the availability :

Renewable & non-renewable resources

  • Renewable Resourcesare infinite resources which can be renewed or reproduced by physical, chemical or mechanical processes, e.g., solar and wind energy, water, forests and wildlife, etc.
  • Non-Renewable Resourcesare formed over a substantially long geological time, e.g., minerals and fossil fuels.
  1. Based on the stage of development :
  • Potential Resources: Potential resources are known to exist and may be used in the future. For example, petroleum may exist in many parts of India and Kuwait that have sedimentary rocks, but until the time it is actually drilled out and put into use, it remains a potential resource.
  • Actual / Developed Resourcesare resources that have been surveyed and determined for utilization both qualitatively and quantitatively. The development of resources depends on technology and level of their feasibility.
  • Stockresource: refers to materials in the environment which cannot be developed profitably because of lack of technology.
  • Reserve resource : part of the actual resource that can be developed profitably with available technology is called a reserve resource
  1. resources based on nature of ownership:
  • Individual Resourcesare resources that are owned privately by individuals, e.g.
    land, houses, plantations, ponds, water in wells Community Resources are resources accessible to all the members of a community. Examples:
    • grazing grounds, burial grounds, public parks, picnic spots etc.
  • National Resourcesare all the resources that belong to a nation. Examples:
    roadways, railways, canals, minerals, water resources, forests, wildlife, etc.
    • land within the political boundaries.
  • International Resourcesare regulated by certain international institutions. These include:
    The oceanic resources beyond 200 km of the Exclusive Economic Zone, which belong to open ocean and no individual country can utilize these without the concurrence of international institutions.
  1. Labour or human resources: In economics, labour or human resources refers to the human effort in production of goods and rendering of services. Human resources can be defined in terms of skills, energy, talent, abilities, or knowledge.
  2. Capital or infrastructure resources: capital refers to already-produced durable goods used in production of goods or services. In essence, capital refers to human-made resources created using knowledge and expertise based on utility or perceived value. Common examples of capital include buildings, machinery, railways, roads, and ships.
  3. Tangible v/s intangible resources: While tangible resources such as equipment have actual physical existence, intangible resources such as corporate images, brands and patents, and other intellectual property exist in abstraction.

  Uses of Resources:

  • Typically resources cannot be consumed in their original form, but rather through resource development they must be processed into more usable commodities and usable things.
  • With increasing population, the demand for resources is increasing. There are marked differences in resource distribution and associated economic inequality between regions or countries.
  • Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment.
  • Sustainable development means that we should exploit our resources carefully to meet our present requirement without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
  • The practice of the three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle must be followed in order to save and extend the availability of resources.


Various problems relate to the usage of resources:

Environmental degradation


Resource depletion

Tragedy of the commons

Myth of superabundance


Various benefits can result from the wise usage of resources:

Economic growth

Ethical consumerism


Quality of life




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