Concept: Plants as a Natural Resource
Plants are an essential natural resource as they help us in many ways like providing oxygen, food, wood and many other things. Just like the animals and us, plants too are living beings. We cannot imagine a world without plants.
Properties of plants:
- Plants cannot move on their own from one place to another. However, the plant parts can show movements.
- The essential things required by a plant to grow and live are sunlight, water, soil and air.
- Plants can prepare their food and, in this process, they take up carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
- Plants can be seen in both land and water.
- Plants are usually green in colour due to the presence of chlorophyll.
- The main parts of a plant are the root, stem, leaves, flowers and fruits.
- Some plants live for a few months or a year, like grasses, pea plants, etc. Some live for more years, like mango, banyan, etc.
Why are plants a natural resource?
Plants are thought to be a valuable natural resource as they provide many benefits. Even animals, too are dependent on plants.
The importance of plants as a natural resource is discussed below—
1. Provides food:
- We obtain vegetables, cereals, pulses, fruits, spices, etc., from various plants.
- Plants are consumed by herbivorous animals such as cows, goats, sheep, horses, etc.
2. Provides oxygen:
- Plants, while preparing their food, release oxygen in the air, which is used by all living organisms to breathe.
3. Medicinal use:
- Some plants have medicinal benefits and are used to treat different ailments.
Examples: Tulsi, ginger, clove, aloe vera, turmeric, etc.
4. Provides shelter:
- Men use wood logs, hay and large dried leaves to build their houses.
- Many animals, birds and insects live on trees.
5. For burning:
- Many people still use firewood for cooking.
- Charcoal is prepared by burning wood in the absence of air.
6. Fossil fuels:
- Coal is formed from the remains of dead plants that have stayed buried in the soil for millions of years.
- Coal is used in factories, power plants, etc.
7. Cleaning of air:
- Plants utilise the carbon dioxide given off by animals, birds and human beings to prepare their food and in turn, release oxygen.
- Some indoor plants can also absorb harmful substances from the air.
- Many fibres are obtained from plants like cotton, flax, jute, hemp, etc.
- These fibres are used for different purposes like making clothes, ropes, bags, etc.
9. Benefit the environment:
- The roots of trees hold the soil in one place and prevent them from washing away during heavy rains.
- A thick forest cover increases the chances of rainfall.
Looking after the plants:
- Plants are so important to us that we need to look after them and protect them.
- Cutting down trees should be prohibited as many living beings are losing their place to live.
- National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries have been built to protect the forests from being cleared out and preserve important plants.
- Different Tree Plantation Programmes are organised to encourage people to plant more trees.
- You can do your part and plant at least one tree in an open space every year on your birthday.
Herbivorous animals: Animals who feeds on plants like cows, deer, goats, sheep, etc.
Chlorophyll: A green pigment found in plants which helps in the preparation of the plant’s food.
National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries: These are specially protected regions for plants, animals, birds and insects.
Did You Know?
- The Great Basin Bristlecone Pine is the oldest living tree alive for over 5,000 years.
- Plants like potato, tomato, chilli, guava and papaya were introduced to India for the first time many years ago by European traders.