Management of Natural Resources (NOTES)

Facts that Matter

1. Ganga Action Plan started in 1985 to remove the pollution in Ganga.
2. The 3 R’s. to save environment are
    (a) Reduce
    (b) Recycle
    (c) Reuse
3. Sustainable development encourages forms of growth that meet current basic human
    needs and needs of future generations.
4. Due to increase in human population the demand for resources is increasing at an exponential rate.
5. Hence our resources need to be managed for the following reasons:
    (a) So that they last for generations to come.
    (b) So that they are equally distributed.
    (c) So that the environment is not harmed when the resources are extracted or used.
6. Forest and Wild Life:
    (a) Biodiversity is measured by the number of species found in an area.
    (b) Loss of biodiversity leads to loss of ecological stability.
7. The different stakeholders in a forest are:
(a) People who live in or around forests and depend on forest produce for various aspects of their life.
(b) The forest Department of the Government which owns the land and controls the resources from the forests.
(c) The industrialists who use the forest produce but are not dependent on the forests of any one area.
(d) The wildlife and nature enthusiasts who want to conserve nature.

8. The local people depend on forests for fire wood, timber, thatch, bamboo, wood for making implements for agriculture, fishing and hunting, fruits, nuts, medicines, fodder and grazing pasture for cattle.
9. The local people had developed practices for sustainable use of forests.
10. Monocultures of pine, teak and eucalyptus in the forest area destroys biodiversity of the area. The needs of the local people can longer be met. But such plantations are an important source of revenue for the Forest Department.
11. Unlike industrialists, local people will not exploit forests as their life depends on the optimum produce from the forest for generations to come.
12. Conservationists should include local people as a part of the forest system.
13. There are many examples of local people working traditionally for the conservation of forests e.g. the Bishois of Rajasthan.
14. Regular grazing helps in maintaining grasslands. For e.g., when grazing was prohibited in the great Himalayan National Park, the grass first grew very tall and then fell over preventing fresh growth.

Sustainable Management

1. The Chipko movement started in a village called Reni in Garhwal, in the Himalayas during early 1970’s. The women of the village hugged the trees, thus preventing the workers of a local contractor from cutting down the trees.

2. People’s participation in the management of forests helps to conserve forests. Example—In 1972, the conservation of the Arabari Forest range of Midnapore district was given to the people. In return they were given employment in silviculture and harvesting operations, 25% of the final harvest and allowed fuelwood and fodder collection on payment of a nominal fee. As a result by 1983, previously worthless Sal forest was recovered and was valued at 12.5 crore.

3. We should conserve forests because:
    (i) (a) Forests are biodiversity hot spots.
         (b) The biodiversity brings about ecological stability.
   (ii) People living in and around forests depend on it for their life.
  (iii) Many industries are based on forest produce.
  (iv) It is our natural heritage that must be passed on to future generations in its pristine form.
4. We can conserve forests by:
    (i) Preventing monoculture in forests.
 (ii) Making the local people a part of the forest system. By involving them in the conservation of forests in return for the use of forest produce and use of forests. This leads to efficient management of forests exhausted in few years.


1. In spite of good monsoon, failure to sustain underground water is due to
    (a) Loss of vegetation cover.
    (b) Diversion for high water demanding crops.
    (c) Pollution from industrial effluents and urban wastes.

2. In ancient times irrigation methods like dams, tanks and canals were used and managed by local people for agriculture and daily needs throughout the year. The use was strictly regulated and optimum cropping patterns based on water availability were arrived at on the basis of centuries of experience.

3. Dams provide water for irrigation and electricity. Canals from dams can irrigate vast areas, e.g., Indira Gandhi Canal. But mismanagement of water results in few people being benefited. For e.g., people near the water source grow water intensive crops like rice and sugarcane, while people living downstream do not get water.

4. Problems associated with large dams:
    (i) Social problems because they displace large number of peasants and tribals
         without adequate compensation or rehabilitation.
   (ii) Economic problems because they swallow up high amounts of public money
         without the generation of proportionate benefits.
  (iii) Environmental problems because they contribute enormously to deforestation
         and loss of biological diversity.


1. Local water harvesting techniques are beneficial over mega projects because:
(a) They are highly local specific and benefits are localized.
(b) Giving people control over their local water resources ensures that mismanagement and over-exploitation of those resources is reduced/removed.

2. A water harvesting system


Traditional water harvesting system—an ideal setting of the khadin system

3. Coal and petroleum:

(a) Coal and petroleum reserves were formed millions of years ago and these reserves will be exhausted in a few years.

(b) Coal and petroleum contain C, H, O, N and S. When these burn oxides of these components are formed. In insufficient air CO is formed. CO and oxides of N and S are poisonous. CO2 is a green house gas. Hence we need to use these resources judiciously.

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