Our Natural Resources EVS Grade 5 Learning Concepts | Orchids
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Forests

Concept: Our Natural Resources

What are natural resources?

  • The resources available in nature that can be harnessed and used directly or indirectly after being converted into other forms are called natural resources.
  • The important natural resources are as follows—
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  • Natural resources are essential for the survival and continuity of life on Earth.
  • They are harnessed, extracted, or converted into forms suitable for use.
  • Examples:

  • Crude oil is purified for obtaining products like petroleum and kerosene.
  • Wind energy is harnessed through windmills for conversion into electricity.

Classification of natural resources:

Natural resources can be classified based on their state and origin.

  • Based on the state, natural resources can be classified as—
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  • Based on the origin, natural resources are classified as—
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    1. Renewable resources: The resources that are inexhaustible and can be used repeatedly are called renewable resources.
    2. Examples: Wind energy, solar energy, tidal energy, etc.

    3. Non-Renewable resources:The exhaustible resources that cannot be used again once consumed are called non-renewable resources.
    4. Examples: Coal, petroleum, and natural gas.

Water as a natural resource:

  • Water covers almost 70% of the Earth’s surface.
  • Water is vital for the existence of every living form on Earth.
  • Water is widely used in industries and agricultural activities besides supporting life.
  • Water is a renewable source of energy. Nowadays, advanced methods and technologies are used to recycle water, which aims to conserve water.
  • Freshwater is available in a minimal amount on Earth; hence, it is necessary to use water judiciously and prevent it from getting contaminated with pollutants.

Air as a natural resource:

  • Air surrounds the Earth in the form of the atmosphere, which makes the existence of life possible on Earth.
  • Air contains life-supporting gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide, which animals and plants use.
  • Moving air is called wind.
  • The energy of wind is harnessed to produce electrical energy.
  • Wind energy is a renewable form of energy.

Soil as a natural resource:

  • Soil supports the growth of plants which are said to be the ultimate producers.
  • Being at the base of the food chain, plants, directly and indirectly, provide food to all types of consumers on Earth.
  • Soil also serves as the habitat of many microorganisms.
  • Apart from these, the soil is the reservoir for many minerals and rocks which are exploited for commercial use.
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Forest as a natural resource:

  • A large area of land covered with trees is considered a forest.
  • Forest covers 30% of the land on Earth.
  • Forests can be divided into the following categories based on their distance from the Equator.
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  1. Tropical forests:
    • These are closest to the Equator and do not experience winters.
    • The temperature and humidity in these forests are high because they receive direct sunlight.
    • So the rate of decomposition in these forests is high, making the soil extremely fertile.
    • They receive high rainfall and are home to many plant and animal species.
    • The main plants found in these forests are palms, orchids, ferns, mosses, etc.
  2. Temperate forests:
    • Temperate forests are located between the tropical and boreal forests.
    • They receive a considerable amount of rainfall and experience all four seasons.
    • One can find oak, maple, and birch trees in temperate forests.
    • Animals found in these forests are adapted to sustain cold winters.
  3. Boreal forests:
    • These forests are located farthest from the Equator.
    • They experience short summers and long winters.
    • The main trees in boreal forests are deodar, pine, and oak.

Resources we get from forests:

Apart from being a home to a large number of animals and plants, forests provide a large number of resources that are used directly or indirectly in our daily lives.

  1. Honey:
    • Honey is used both in cooking food and preparing medicines. Apiculture is practised in places adjacent to forests. The forests have many flower-bearing plants, providing ample space for the bees to gather nectar.
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  2. Fruits and mushrooms:
    • Though fruits and mushrooms can be harvested via agricultural practices, they are also collected from the forests in a considerable amount.
    • People residing in forests use them for food and sell them to earn money.
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  3. Timber and wood products:
    • Forests are a major source of timber and other types of woods.
    • Timber is used as a raw material in both small and large-scale industries.
    • Wood collected from the forest is majorly used for building houses and furniture.
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  4. Wood pulp:
    • The primary raw material used for the production of paper is wood pulp.
    • Humans depend on forests to obtain wood pulp for making papers.

  5. Medicines and dietary supplements:
    • A wide variety of trees and herbs that grow in forests has a significant role in synthesising medicines.
    • Barks, roots, stems, leaves, and flowers of various plants are used for medicinal purposes.
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  6. Firewood:
    • People in rural areas depend on the forest for collecting firewood that they use for cooking.

  7. Fodder:
    • Small plants and grasses in the forests are collected to use as fodder for animals.
    • Wide different varieties of grass are found in forests.
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  8. Bamboo:
    • It is also called ‘poor man’s timber’.
    • Bamboo is widely used for making stilt houses in flood-prone areas.
    • Also, bamboo leaves and stems are used for making baskets, flooring materials, and mats.
    • Tribal people depend on the products made from bamboo plants for their livelihood.
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  9. Dyes and tannins:
    • Forests provide around 2 lakh tonnes of dyes and tannins every year.
    • A wide variety of flowers found in the forests are used as raw materials for producing dyes.
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New Words

Supplements: A concentrated form of nutrients.

Equator: An imaginary line that divides Earth into two equal halves—Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Apiculture: The occupation of owning and breeding bees for collecting their honey; also called beekeeping.


Did You Know?

  • Forests are also called the ‘lungs’ of our planet because they maintain oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
  • 80% of the plant and animal species on Earth are found in forests. Cutting down trees forces some animal species to migrate to other places, and eventually, disappear.
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