Natural resources are readily available from mother nature. Some of the natural sources are soil, water, plants, wildlife, coal, and petroleum. The human beings rely on some of the natural resources for their food, shelter, and entertainment. Sadly, the unlimited exploitation of the resources from the interest groups ( commercial ventures, industrial owners etc) has been a worry from the last 2 decades. Human exploitation is the main reason behind the huge imbalance between the usage and the production rate. This is because we use more resources than what our environment can afford. Across the world, many cities have already been declared as drought and highly polluted. This is linked with excessive utilization of natural resources. Hence, it is the responsibility of every citizen to grow, save and manage the natural resources so that they are going to be sustainable forever. This article is designed to provide information on how to manage natural resources strategically.
Why we must preserve and save our natural resources
Natural resources are divided into 2 major types, renewable and non-renewable. Renewable sources can be reused and don't get over quickly, for example, sunlight. Non-renewable sources finish depending upon the usage, for instance, petroleum products. The pace at which the environmental resources are being depleted is turning out to be a great threat. Many of the sources are meeting a point of complete exhaustion . This is especially true when it comes to petroleum and coal as many of the reserves have been declared empty. Resources such as water, forests and wildlife are also gradually depleting. As far as the Indian context is concerned, the key reason behind the resource exhaustion is the population explosion. Liberal laws further escalate the problem by providing an easy access and usage rights on many natural resources, for example, in government has banned the excavation of sand illegally due to the excessive usage of sand from the past 2 decades.
Steps/ strategies to save resources (3 Rs formula)
Forests and Wildlife
Forests are the biodiversity hotspots providing shelter for a diverse variety of plants and animals alike. Forests can bridge the relationship between different organism within an ecosystem. Damage to the biodiversity of the natural forests lead to the disruption of ecological stability in a variety of ways. So it’s the duty of individuals and government to preserve these hotspots. We depend on forests for many purposes. Right from the air, we breathe till the lavish constructions of wooden houses, ships, etc we use for3est sources. In addition to the provision of habitats for animals and livelihoods for humans, forests also help in the prevention of soil erosion and the management of climatic variations.
Sustainable forest management
Sustainable forest management is a practice in which we all have to adapt a way of using and caring for the forests that will help to maintain our environmental, social and economic balance. In the long-run , forest management help us to grow the, mankind in many. Some of the local communities have been working traditionally on the conservation of forests and trees. One of the personal dedication to such a dedicated work goes to Saalu marada Thimmakka, she was well known as an environmental enthusiast who saved roadside trees in Karnataka. Magsaysay Award recipient Sunderlal Bahuguna has also provided a momentum to the Chipko Andolan. It was initiated by the women residents of the village who protested against the commercial wood contractors. The troupe expressed their anger by hugging the trunk of the trees indicating strong resistance against cutting of trees.
Applying the principle of 3Rs,(reduce, reuse, and recycle)
Use renewable resources like clothes, and paper wisely as this may help in saving trees.
Policy parameters from the government must be strict against the exploiters. If someone cuts the tree they must be seriously punished.
All the office furniture, stationery, and other reusable materials must be wisely borrowed, shared and reused. For example, books, papers, files have to be used in a systematic and conservative fashion.
A strict self-discipline of planting a tree in the neighbourhood is definitely helpful.
Teaching school kids about the importance of natural sources through awareness camps must be the main agenda of forest management.
The forest department must have a close vigilance on bush fire, hunting of animals and birds. The dried trees must be cleaned in advance to block the chances of inducing natural fire. Recently, we have already witnessed Australian bushfires resulted in massive habitat destruction.
We all must encourage silviculture where trees are grown on a large scale.
Red Data Book has to be developed. It is a document for recording the list of the endangered and rare species of animals, plants, fungi as well as some local species. This will ensure a systematic way of preserving the rare species.
People’s Participation in the Management of Forests
Every individual play a major role in keeping up the harmony with natural resources by hindering their exploitation. The government agencies such as the department of forestry and the department of environmental science must include the common people on the agenda. One such example is, in the year 1972, the West Bengal forest department found that they have failed in maintaining the forests. Surveillance and policing had led to the complete alienation of the people which led to clashes between forest officials and villagers. So, to overcome this, the department was forced to change the strategy. Forest officer A.K. Banerjee involved villagers in the protection of 1272 hectares of badly degraded Sal forests in Arabari forest range of Midnapore district. In return he allowed villagers to collect fuelwood and fodder on payment of a nominal fee. Also, 25% of the final harvest was given to the village community.
Stakeholders of forest and wildlife conservation
People who live nearby the close vicinity of forests
The forest department of the respective Government which owns and controls all the resources from forests.
Industrialists who use various forest produce for their business, but are not dependent on the forests in any one area.
Wildlife and nature enthusiasts who want to conserve nature in its pristine form.
The local people and their role in forest management
Local people need construction material for houses, wood for fire and bamboo for several other purposes. On the other side, they use a lot of medicinal plants, fruits, honey, and cattle for their daily needs. This would place a lot of pressure on the natural sources. There may be a chance of exhaustion of these resources if the government don’t put proper legal boundaries. However local culture and their sentiment are still helping to preserve some sources in the forest. For example, the Bishnoi community living in Rajasthan, for whom conservation of forest and wildlife has been a religious practice. But many times people can revolt against the government and they might fight each other for resources which need to be taken care of by the government.
The Forest Department and their influence on the diversity of plant life
The Forest Department has a tremendous role in saving the forests. Yello-belt must be drawn across the country. Yellow zones strictly restrict the entry of commercial ventures. Some of the ways they can help is by preserving the commercial sources such as woods of pine, teak or eucalyptus, etc. Serious imprisonment and penalty can help to conserve certain resources.
Industries and their influence on forest destruction
Industrialists displayed foul-play with the governments in the past. The huge interest-groups lobbied the governments by bribing them for access to foreign sources at low prices. It is highly important to revise and amend the rules and regulations for the industrial owners.
Role of nature lovers in forest management
Nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts are not depending on the forests, but who may have considerable say in their management. They work hand- in -hand with the local residents and governments to report the actual scenario. They also help in organizing awareness campaigns related to the effects of deforestation and other harmful activities.