Natural Renewable Resources

by Sally Taylor; Updated September 26, 2017
Even renewable resources such as trees and water can be endangered through abuse.

Natural renewable resources are resources that exist in the natural environment and can be replenished at rates fast enough to offset usage. Types of renewable resources are solar, geothermal, wind, water and biomass (plants). Renewable resources are vital to the future of human survival because current use rates are depleting many resources which are unrecoverable once they are gone. Scientists are studying the best renewable resources and conditions under which even renewable resources can become endangered.

About Resources

Population growth requires an ever-increasing amount of resource usage. Some resources are non-renewable and are in danger of being exhausted. Many of the elements we use are on the endangered list. Oil, coal, and natural gas are all limited. Some resources can be used to replace those we currently use, but will themselves deplete over time. Nuclear power is an alternative that uses uranium and when uranium supplies are exhausted, that power source is also extinct. Renewable resources offer alternatives that can be used without depletion and extinction of the source. The sun is one renewable energy source that we cannot deplete.

Natural Renewable Resources

Most natural resources are inorganic and cannot be depleted. Wind, geothermal, and solar are all resources that will exist no matter how much we use. Unlike these resources, some renewable resources are more fragile. Water will always be available, but clean water is becoming scarce and as pollution levels rise available clean water for life support is threatened. Biomass resources -- organic life -- also must be maintained. When ecosystems are destroyed organisms can become extinct. Waste and abuse must be avoided and strict management conducted if biomass alternatives are to continue to be viable resources.

Renewable Biomass Resources

Scientists are studying how best to use different plant sources for energy while replenishing other aspects of the environment that have undergone damage. Grasses that can be used for making fuel are being studied for their environmental value. Grasses encourage biodiversity, can grow in soils depleted by farming, halt erosion and absorb elements that might otherwise seep into waterways and kill water life. Trees not only supply energy needs but also encourage biodiversity and save localized areas from desertification which renders land barren and useless. Rapid-growing and multi-purpose resources such as bamboo which can be used for wood, fiber, fuel, ecosystem maintenance and food are being planted and monitored. Scientific institutions are setting goals to find the best resources for widespread use and ecological sustainability.

Applied Uses Of Renewable Resources

Technology which uses natural renewable resources is already in use. Solar heating panels are becoming popular alternative energy sources. Wind farms are in use in many areas of the U.S. Developments are underway to harvest energy from ocean waves. Plants are being used for oil replacement while other plant alternatives are being studied. Forest systems are already being planted and maintained using eco-friendly techniques rather than clearcutting. Some technology, such as solar, is available for powering private homes. These devices save consumers money while stretching the availability of non-renewable resources. In the near future many of our energy needs will be supplied by natural renewable resources.

About the Author

An honor graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English and linguistics, Sally Taylor has contracted research and writing services since 1986. She has worked with organizations such as US West AT, and SW Bell Silver Pages.

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