Definition of Natural Resources

by Adeeba Folami ; Updated September 26, 2017

Natural resources are substances that exist naturally in the earth and were not made by human beings.

Benefits

Natural resources become valuable based on their demand and usefulness in manufacturing products or providing human necessities or comforts.

Identification

Natural resources are materials such as air, land, water, natural gas, coal, oil, petroleum, minerals, wood, topsoil, fauna, flora, forests and wildlife.

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Significance

A country's economic standing and independence are based on long-term sales of its natural resources, also known as commodities, to other nations.

Types

Renewable natural resources are those that can be replaced in a timely manner and include animal life, plants, trees, water, grass and wind energy. Nonrenewable resources may be irreplaceable once extracted from water or soil and include gold, silver, fossil fuels, diamonds, natural gas, copper and ore

Warning

Environmental activists warn that although natural resources are gifts of nature, farmland and clean water are two resources that may become scarce as Earth's population continues to increase.

Expert Insight

Scientists now use gravity gradiometers--space-based technological instruments--to locate natural resources like oil and gas.

Fun Fact

Soil is one of many natural resources, and although commonly believed only to be black or brown, soil can also be gray, red, yellow or white.

About the Author

Adeeba Folami is a freelance journalist residing in Denver, Colo. She was first published professionally in 1994. Folami's work has appeared in many publications, including "Denver Weekly News," "Afro American Newspapers," "Louisiana Weekly," "Dallas Weekly," "Mississippi Link," and "OpEd News."

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