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World Resources Forum (WRF)
2012

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Classification

Renewability

Extraction

Depletion Protection Conservation Management Areas Introduction Contact

Fundamentalism is that pervasive fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun.

- H. L. Mencken

Some natural resources such as sunlight and air can be found everywhere, and are known as ubiquitous resources. However, most resources only occur in small sporadic areas, and are referred to as localized resources. There are very few resources that are considered inexhaustible (will not run out in foreseeable future) these are solar radiation, geothermal energy, and air (though access to clean air may not be). The vast majority of resources are exhaustible, which means they have a finite quantity, and can be depleted if managed improperly.

Classification

There are various methods of categorizing natural resources, these include source of origin, stage of development, and by their renewability. These classifications are described below. On the basis of origin, resources may be divided into:

  • Biotic Biotic resources are obtained from the biosphere (living and organic material), such as forests and animals, and the materials that can be obtained from them. Fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum are also included in this category because they are formed from decayed organic matter.
  • Abiotic Abiotic resources are those that come from non-living, non-organic material. Examples of abiotic resources include land, fresh water, air and heavy metals including ores such as gold, iron, copper, silver, etc.

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