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Dr. D. Balaji
Associate Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering

Natural Resources

o Renewable Resources

o Non- Renewable Resource

The Natural Resources

The natural resources are of two kinds
o Renewable resources: - Inexhaustive - Regenerated within
a given span of time.
e.g. forests, wildlife, wind energy, biomass energy, tidal
energy, hydro power etc.
Solar energy is also a renewable form of energy as it is an
inexhaustible source of energy.
o Non-renewable resources: which cannot be regenerated
e.g. Fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, minerals etc.
Once we exhaust these reserves, the same cannot be

Natural Resources

A nonrenewable resource is a natural resource that

cannot be re-made or re-grown at a scale
comparable to its consumption

Nuclear energy
Nuclear fission uses uranium to create energy.
Nuclear energy is a nonrenewable resource because once the
uranium is used, it is gone!

Coal, petroleum, and gas

Coal, petroleum, and natural gas are
considered nonrenewable because
they can not be replenished in a short
period of time. These are called fossil

How is coal made ?

How are oil and gas made ?

What was the difference between coal and oil/gas?

If nonrenewable resources are resources that cannot be re-made at a scale

comparable to its consumption, what are renewable resources?

Renewable Resources
Renewable resources are natural resources that can be
replenished in a short period of time.



Energy from the sun.


Energy from Earths heat.


Energy from the



Energy from burning organic or living


Water or Hydroelectric

Energy from the flow of


o Forest resources
o Water resources
o Mineral resources
o Food resources
o Energy resources
o Land resources.

Forest Resources
Production of oxygen: The trees produce oxygen by
photosynthesis which is so vital for life on this earth.
They are rightly called as earths lungs.
Reducing global warming: The main greenhouse gas
carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed by the forests as a
raw material for photosynthesis. Thus forest canopy
acts as a sink for CO2 thereby reducing the problem of
global warming caused by greenhouse gas CO2.

Wild life habitat: Forests are the homes of millions of wild animals and
plants. About 7 million species are found in the tropical forests alone.
Regulation of hydrological cycle: Forested watersheds act like giant
sponges, absorbing the rainfall, slowing down the runoff and slowly
releasing the water for recharge of springs. About 50-80 %of the moisture
in the air above tropical forests comes from their transpiration which helps
in bringing rains.
Soil Conservation: Forests bind the soil particles tightly in their roots and
prevent soil erosion. They also act as wind-breaks.
Pollution moderators: Forests can absorb many toxic gases and can help in
keeping the air pure. They have also been reported to absorb noise and thus
help in preventing air and noise pollution.


Deforestation refers to the loss of forest cover; land that is
permanently converted from forest to Agricultural land, golf
courses, cattle pasture, homes, lakes or desert.
FAO-Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN defines tropical
deforestation as change of forest with deletion of tree crown cover more
than 90% depletion of forest tree crown cover less than 90% is considered
forest degradation.
United Nations conference on Environment and development (UNCED) in
1992 defines deforestation as : land degradation in arid, semi-arid, and subhumid areas resulting from various factors including climatic variations and
human activities.

Causes of deforestation
The following are the major causes of deforestation around the world.
Agriculture- poor formers cut down small areas and burn the trees and proceed
with agriculture.
Commercial logging- logging rods enable landless people to access the interiors
of the forest, which in turns result in further deforestation and poaching.
The cash crop economy
Eg. In Malaysia over 3.5 million hectares of forest have been cleared for the
rubber and oil palm plantations.
Mining and dams-Mining, industrial development and hydroelectric schemes
are also significant causes of deforestation.

- Shift in cultivation

- for Fuel
- Raw material for industries
- Development process
- Growing food need
- Overgrazing

Effects of Deforestation
(i) It threatens the existence of many wild life species due to destruction of
their natural habitat.
(ii) Biodiversity is lost and along with that genetic diversity is eroded.
(iii) Hydrological cycle gets affected, thereby influencing rainfall.
(iv) Problems of soil erosion and loss of soil fertility increase.
(v) In hilly areas it often leads to landslides.

Major Activities in Forests

Timber Extraction: Logging for valuable timber, such as teak
and Mahogany not only involves a few large trees per hectare
but about a dozen more trees since they are strongly
interlocked with each other by vines etc. Also road construction
for making approach to the trees causes further damage to the


Forest location in Tamilnadu

Forest cover in India

Mining operations for extracting minerals and fossil fuels like
coal often involves vast forest areas.
Mining from shallow deposits is done by surface mining while
that from deep deposits is done by sub-surface mining.
More than 80,000 ha of land of the country is presently under the
stress of mining activities.
Mining and its associated activities require removal of vegetation
along with underlying soil mantle and overlying rock masses. This
results in defacing the topography and destruction of the
landscape in the area.

Mining is a process of removing ores from area which is very

much below the ground level. Mining is done for the extraction
of several minerals of metals like Fe, Mn, Au, Ag, etc. The
minerals are especially found in thick forests.

Mining can be carried out in two ways

1. Surface mining
2. underground mining or sub-surface mining
The effects of under ground mining on forest reserves is
comparatively less than that of surface mining

There are two successful cases of reclamation of mined areas in

India. They are :
(1) Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd. in Tamil Nadu.
(2) Stone Quarries of Sayaji Iron Works in Gujarat

India has large numbers of minerals, one-quarter of worlds known mineral

About 2/3 of Iron deposits lies in Orissa and Bihar
Haemaite deposits in MP, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa and Magnetite
iron-ore in TN, Bihar, Himachal
2nd place for Manganese MP, Maha.., Bihar-Orissa
Chromide deposits at Bihar, Orissa, AP, Karna
Bauxite deposits in Bihar, Kashmir, TN, Kerala, UP, Maha, Karnat.
India supplies 75% of the worlds Mica- Bihar, Andra, Rajasthan, Sikkim,
Gypsum in TN, Rajasthan,
Nickel ore- Orissa, Ileminite -Kerala, Silimanite-Maha, MP, CopperAndhra, bihar, Rajashthan,

Diamond-Andra, MP, UP, Petroleum- Assam, Gujarat, UraniumTumalapalli village located in Kadapa, A.P.

Relation between forest and climate change:

Forests both influence and influenced by climate change. They
play an important role in the carbon cycle and the way we
manage forests could significantly affect global warming.
Forests hold more than 50 per cent of the carbon that is stored
in terrestrial vegetation and soil organic matter. Hence,
deforestation contributes significantly to net emissions of
carbon dioxide into the atm.

Dams - Positive impact

These dams are regarded as symbol of national development.
provides large scale employment of tribal people and increase
the std. of living of them
contribute for economic uplift and growth
help in checking flood
generate electricity
reduce power and water shortage
provide irrigation water
provide drinking water to remote areas
promote navigation and fishery.

Negative Impacts

Displacement of species.
Loss of fauna and flora, earthquake
Quality changes and stagnation
Microclimate change and growth of aquatic weeds
Breading of disease vector

Water logging and salinity

Salt water intrusion at mouth of river
Loss of fertility- due to sediments
Disease spread
Microclimate changes

Upstream problems

Downstream problems

Major projects

Dams in India as on 2012: 3200

Dams in Tamilnadu as on 2012 : 114
(i) Sardar Sarovar Project, Gujrat.
(ii) Narmada Sagar Project, M.P.
(iii) Bodhghat Project, M.P.
(iv) Tehri Dam Project in U.P.

Sardar Sarovar Dam

Forest Conservation and Management

Sustainable supply of tree products and services to people

and industry

Maintenance of long-term ecological balance through

protection, restoration and conservation of forest cover.

Afforestation programmes
To achieve goal
(i) protection or conservation forestry

degraded forests to allow recoupment of their flora and fauna

Well-stocked forests are managed
Designated as national parks and sanctuaries

(ii) production or commercial forestry.

- Production plantations of fast growing trees (e.g., Eucalyptus)
- Social forestry and agro forestry programmes

Social forestry: aims to plant trees and shrubs on all unused and fallow
land to provide fuelwood, fodder, etc., to avoid stress on forest.
For example, unused farmland, community land, road and rail sides, etc.
are planted with suitable indigenous and/or exotic tree species.
a variety of land uses, where woody species are grown in combination with
herbaceous crops (same time or in sequence)

Steps to prevent deforestation or the role of individual in

preserving forest resources
1. Starting afforestation (tree planting) programs.
2. Educating people about the ill effects of deforestation
through movies, documentaries, play, newsletters etc.
3. Strict implementation of Forest Conservation Act
4. Implementing peoples participatory programmes. Example:
Joint Forestry Management (JFM).
5. Avoids diversion of forest lands for other activities through
acts like Forest Conservation Act and Wild life (protection) Act
6. Control forest diseases and forest fire
7. Recycling or replacing forest products may result in less
dependence of forest.

Water Resources
about 97% is salty water
and only
3% is fresh water

Unique features of water

1. High specific heat
2. High latent heat of vapourisation
3. Good solvent for oxygen, nutrients and pollutants
4. Anomalous expansion on freezing
5. High surface tension
6. Universal solvent

About 9.86% of the total fresh water resources is in the form of
groundwater and it is about 35-50 times that of surface water
Till some time back groundwater was considered to be very
pure. However, of late, even groundwater aquifers have been
found to be contaminated by leachates from sanitary landfills

Surface Water
The water coming through precipitation (rainfall, snow) when
does not percolate down into the ground or does not return to
the atmosphere as evaporation or transpiration loss, assumes
the form of streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands or artificial
reservoirs known as surface water.
The surface water is largely used for irrigation, industrial use,
public water supply, navigation etc. A countrys economy is
largely dependent upon its rivers.

Water pollution or contamination

Creates declining of water levels

Crops failure and reduction in agricultural production
Over pumping of ground water create drought, famine and food shortage
Over pumping of ground water sea water intrusion in coastal aquifers
land subsidence may due to over pumping of ground water
River pollution due to industrial activities and dumping of waste into rivers,
which in turn force to utilize the ground water, ultimately leads to over
Clean water is universal right. It is the responsibility of everyone to ensure
the purity of water. Water is a valuable commodity and it has to be

Surface water
When evaporation and transpiration rates are lower than the
rainfall, surface water body like lake, river, pond, streams etc.
will get dried.
Flood: over flow of water, whenever the water in flow is greater
than the carrying capacity of the channels flood occurs.
1. heavy rainfall, snow melt, sudden release of water from dams.
2. Prolonged down pour leading to overflowing of rivers and lakes
3. Reduction in carrying capacity due to obstructions or sediments
4. Deforestation, overgrazing, mining increases water run off
5. Removal of dense forests from hilly regions

1. Submerges the flooded area
2. Loss of soil fertility due to soil erosion
3. Extinction of civilization at costal area

Flood management
1. Dams and reservoirs can be constructed
2. Embankments and proper channel management
3. Flood way should not be encroached
4. Forecasting or flood warning
5. Decrease of run off by infiltration through afforestation or rain
water harvesting etc.


Unpredictable delay in climatic condition occurring due to
monsoon rain failure.
Meterological : in order of month or year, actual moisture
supply at a given place consistently falls below critical level.
Hydrological: deficiency in surface and subsurface water
Agricultural: inadequate soil moisture to meet the need of a
particular crop at particular time or susceptibility of crops
during different stages in its development
Socioeconomic: reduction in the availability of food and social
securing of people

Deforestation and lesser rainfalls coupled with cutting of trees
for timber leads to desertifictation.
Over drafting of ground water, subsidence of soil, drying of
Pollution of soil with solid waste, industrial effluents etc
makes land useless and dry
Population explosion in man and livestock leads to enhanced
requirement of timber, fuel wood, grazing
Shifting cultivation


Increase of water in stream pond

Ground water table get declined
Loss of agricultural crops
Loss of biodiversity
Government spent a lot of money as drought relief fund

Control measures

Rain water harvesting

Watershed management
Prevent deforestation
Encourage afforestation

Conflicts over water

People lack accesses to safe water

6000 Childs die every day (80% - developing countries)
Water usage 2 times increased due to population
90% of water released to env. Without any treatment
One flush of a western toilet = one day need of a man in a developing
Classification of conflict
control of water resources
military tool
political tool
military target
development disputes

History of conflicts over water around the world

Karnataka Tamilnadu- violence erupts when karanataka rejects
an interim order handed down by the Cauvery waters tribunal,
setup by the Indian supreme court. The tribunal was established
in 1990 to settle two decades of dispute between karnataka and
Tamil Nadu over irrigation rights to Cauvery river.
During the gulf war, Iraq destroys much of Kuwaits
desalination capacity during retreat.

Natural Resources
Renewable Non Renewable
Forest Resources
Water Resources

Land Resources

Land Resources
Land is critically important national resource which supports all living
organisms including plants and animals. The soil profile of land determines its
ability to serve socio-economic needs.
It has been estimated that more than 5000 million tons of top soil is eroded
annually along with 5 million tones of nutrients. About 1/3 of this is lost in sea
while the rest in reservoirs and rivers leading to flood.
About 38% of the area in India suffers from moderate to high degree of water
based erosion. The per capita availability of land in the country has declined
from 1.37 hectare in 1901 to 0.33 hectare in 2000. All these lands cannot be
utilized for agricultural purpose. Some land would be required for other
activities (to maintain urban area).

Land Resources

Effective steps have to be taken for preventing diversion of land suitable for
sustainable farming to non-farm uses. Simultaneously, degraded lands and
waste lands have to be improved by ecological restoration. The Department of
Land Resources was setup in April 1999 by ministry of Rural Development to
act as nodal agency for land resource management.
The main objectives of the Department are:
To increase productivity of rainfed/degraded land through the process of
integrated watershed management.
To support the States/UTs for implementation of National Land Records
Modernization Programme (NLRMP)
Land reforms and other related matters relating to land like administration of
Land Acquisition Act, 1894, National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy
of 2007 , Registration Act, 1908 etc.

Land Degradation
Land Degradation: Land degradation is defined as the reduction
in soil capacity to produce in terms of quality, quantity goods
and services. The definition is also based on
1. sustainability or ability to produce continuously and
2. quality of land resource that makes it sustainable or resistant
to degradation
3. carrying capacity or the number of people and animals the
land can normally support without significant stress.
Landscapes generally undergo degradation but are usually
compensated by natures inherent recovering ability. Whenever
degradation occur exceeding natures restorative capacity, the
result will be a disaster.

Causes of Land Degradation

Land clearance, such as clear cutting and deforestation
Agricultural depletion of soil nutrients through poor
farming practices
Urban conversion
Land pollution including industrial waste
Walking tracks

Land Slide

Kedarnath, Uttarakhand

There are two types of slides

1. Slides due to natural factors
2. Slides induced by man and his activities
Some of the human activities that cause land sliding are
Massive deforestation
Erratic agricultural practices
Road building
Unscientific quarrying etc.
Engineering. Constructions

Soil Erosion
Soil erosion is one form of soil degradation along with soil
compaction, low organic matter, loss of soil structure, poor
internal drainage, salinisation, and soil acidity problems.
Soil erosion is a naturally occurring process on all land. The
agents of soil erosion are water and wind, each contributing a
significant amount of soil loss
The loss of soil from farmland may be reflected in reduced crop
production potential, lower surface water quality and damaged
drainage networks.

Soil erosion
Terracing: Terracing reduces soil erosion on
steep slopes by concerting the land into a series
of broad, level terraces. This retains water for
crops at each level and reduces soil erosion by
water run off.

Contour Farming: This method is adopted for

gently sloped
planting crops in rows across the contour of
gently sloped land

Soil erosion
Alley Cropping or Agro forestry: In this
method crops are planted together in strips
or alleys between trees and shrubs that
can provide fruits and fuel wood. The trees
and shrubs provide shade which reduce
water loss by evaporation and preserve soil

Wind Breaks or Shelter Belts: Wind breaks

and shelter belts or trees are established
to reduce wind erosion and also for
retaining soil moisture.

Soil Erosion by Water

The rate and magnitude of soil erosion
by water is controlled
by the following factors:
Rainfall Intensity and Runoff
Soil Erodibility - is an estimate of the ability of soils to resist
erosion, based on the physical characteristics of each soil.
Generally, soils with faster infiltration rates, higher levels of
organic matter and improved soil structure have a greater
resistance to erosion.
Slope Gradient

Soil Erosion by Wind

The rate and magnitude of soil erosion
by wind is controlled
by the following factors:
Erodibility of Soil - Very fine particles can be suspended
by the wind and then transported great distances.
Soil Surface Roughness
Climate - Soil moisture levels can be very low at the surface
of excessively drained soils or during periods of drought, thus
releasing the particles for transport by wind
Unsheltered Distance lack of wind breaks
Lack of vegetative Cover

Onsite Effects of Soil Erosion

The main on-site impact is the reduction in soil quality which results
from the loss of the nutrient-rich upper layers of the soil, and the
reduced water-holding capacity of many eroded soils.

A diminution of the soils suitability for agriculture or other


The on-site impact of erosion: severe rilling on a hillslope at

Rottingdean on the UK South Downs in 1987

Off-site Effects of Soil Erosion

Main off-site effect is the movement of sediment and agricultural
pollutants into watercourses. This can lead to the silting-up of
dams, disruption of the ecosystems of lakes, and contamination of
drinking water.
In some cases, increased downstream flooding may also occur
due to the reduced capacity of eroded soil to absorb water


Land Degradation
Soil Erosion
Soil Erosion by Water
Soil Erosion by Wind
Onsite Effects of Soil Erosion
Onsite Effects of Soil Erosion

Minerals Resources

Mineral resources
Minerals are naturally occurring, inorganic, crystalline solids
having a definite chemical composition and characteristic
physical properties.
A few common minerals like quartz, feldspar, biotite, dolomite,
calcite, laterite etc.
These minerals, in turn, are composed of some elements like
silicon, oxygen, iron, magnesium, calcium, aluminium etc.

Some Important Mineral Elements and their Uses

Mineral Selected uses
Metal elements
Structural material, packaging
Chrome plate, steel alloys
Alloys material in gold jewellery, silverware, brass
bronze, electric wiring, pipes, cooking
Jewellery, dentistry, alloys
Primary component of steel
Pipes, battery electrodes, pigments
Alloy steels, disinfectants
Coins, alloys, metal plating
Jewellery, equipments, industrial catalyst
Fertilizer, glass, photography
Jewellery, vessels, photography, alloy
Nuclear bomb, electricity, tinting glass
Cans/containers, alloys
Brass, electrodes, medicine

Non Metal Resources

Energy generating minerals

Coal and lignite: West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, M.P., A.P.
Uranium (Pitchblende or Uranite ore): Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh (Nellore,
Nalgonda), Meghalaya, Rajasthan (Ajmer).
Other commercially used minerals
Aluminium (Bauxite ore): Jharkhand, West Bengal, Maharashtra, M.P.,
Iron (haematite and magnetite ore): Jharkhand, Orissa, M.P., A.P., Tamilnadu,
Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa.
Copper (Copper Pyrites): Rajasthan (Khetri), Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka,
M.P., West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Uttaranchal.

Major minerals in India

NALCO (National Aluminium Company) is India's largest bauxite mining
company, most of its operations are located at Damanjodi in Orissa.
Other major producers are Hindalco, INDAL (Indian Aluminium
Company), BALCO (Bharat Aluminium Company), Sterlite Industries and
MALCO (Madras Aluminium Company).
INDAL's bauxite mines are at Panchpatmali in the Koraput district, Orissa.

Environmental impacts of mineral extraction and use

Indian Scenario: India is the producer of 84 minerals the annual

value of which is about Rs. 50,000 crore. At least six major mines
need a mention here which are known for causing severe

Impacts of mineral extraction

Jaduguda Uranium Mine, Jharkhand.exposing local people to radioactive
Jharia coal mines, Jharkhand.underground fire leading to land subsidence and
forced displacement of people.
Sukinda chromite mines, Orissa.seeping of hexavalent chromium into river
posing serious health hazard, Cr6+ being highly toxic and carcinogenic.
Kudremukh iron ore mine, Karnataka. causing river pollution and threat to
East coast Bauxite mine, Orissa.Land encroachment and issue of rehabilitation
North-Eastern Coal Fields, Assam.Very high sulphur contamination of

The environmental damage caused by mining activities are as


Devegetation and defacing of landscape

Subsidence of land
Groundwater contamination
Surface water pollution
Air pollution
Occupational Health Hazards

Environmental impacts of over extraction of mineral resources

Depending on the conditions of terrain and depth of ore deposits 2 types of mining
operations are carried out.
1. open cast mining and
2. underground mining.
In both types each steps in mining processing produce several environmental
effects such as,
Deforestation takes place due to removal of vegetal covers.
Great volume of debris has been generated which disrupt the surface and
ground water circulation. It also reduces the water carrying capacity of streams
very close to mining area
The stacking of over burden and building of soil banks creates problems of

Under ground fire in coalmines is a hazard that is difficult to control

Mining and ore processing normally causes air pollution and water pollution
The acid water generated in coalmines can pose a serious problem of water
pollution, which adversely affects the flora and fauna.
Deeper excavation of ground causes lowering of water table, which leads to
drying of wells or sea water intrusion
In stone quarries, blasting of rocks not only annoying the people nearby, but also
cause hazard from fly rocks and dusts and damage to buildings due to vibrations
The disposal of waste material produced after concentrations of ore create
increase concentration of heavy metals and toxic elements in the environment.

Acid Mine Drainage

AMD occurs when oxygenrich water percolates through

exposed by mining. Water
containing sulfuric acid
drains out of the mine.

AMD is the most serious environmental problem in mining today. It

results from the formation of sulfuric acid caused by mining of sulfurbased materials, particularly high-sulfur coal and metalsulfide ores.

Remedial measures
Safety of mine workers is usually not a priority subject of industry. Statistical
data show that, on an average, there are 30 non-fatal but disabling accidents per
ton of mineral produced and one death per 2.5 tons of mineral produced.

In order to minimize the adverse impacts of mining it is desirable to adopt ecofriendly mining technology. The low-grade ores can be better utilized by using
microbial-leaching technique. The bacterium Thiobacillus ferroxidans has been
successfully and economically used for extracting gold embedded in iron
sulphide ore. The ores are inoculated with the desired strains of bacteria, which
remove the impurities (like sulphur) and leave the pure mineral. This biological
method is helpful from economic as well as environmental point of view.

Food resources

Food resources
The main food resources include wheat, rice, maize, potato, barley,
oats, cassava, sweet potato, sugarcane, pulses, sorghum, millet,
about twenty or so common fruits and vegetables, milk, meat, fish
and seafood.
Amongst these rice, wheat and maize are the major grains,
about 1500 million metric tons of which are grown each year, which
is about half of all the agricultural crops.
About 4 billion people in the developing countries have wheat and
rice as their staple food.

Food resources

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations

estimated that on an average the minimum caloric intake on a
global scale is 2,500 calories/day. People receiving less than 90%
of these minimum dietary calories are called undernourished and
if it is less than 80% they are said to be seriously undernourished

Impacts of malnutrition

World food problems

Problems mainly under nutrition and malnutrition
Natural calamities:-famine, drought, earthquake, flood,gale, storm
Disease and medical facilities
Pest damage:-insects, bacteria, viruses, parasites consume 60% of
worlds food production
Population explosion in rural areas
Environmental pollution
Lack of water for irrigation
Less rainfall due to deforestation
Livestock overgrazing

Changes caused by agriculture and overgrazing

Traditional Agriculture
Until about four decades ago, crop yields in agricultural systems depended on
internal resources, recycling of organic matter, builtin biological control
mechanisms and rainfall patterns.
Agricultural yields were modest, but stable. Production was safeguarded by
growing more than one crop or variety in space and time in a field as insurance
against pest outbreaks or severe weather.
Inputs of nitrogen were gained by rotating major field crops with legumes. In
turn rotations suppressed insects, weeds and diseases by effectively breaking the
life cycles of these pests.
Most of the labor was done by the family with occasional hired help and no
specialized equipment or services were purchased from off-farm sources.
In these type of farming systems the link between agriculture and
ecology was quite strong and signs of environmental degradation
were seldom evident

Modern Agriculture
As agricultural modernization progressed, the ecology-farming linkage was
often broken as ecological principles were ignored and/or overridden
Evidence has accumulated showing that whereas the present capital- and
technology-intensive farming systems have been extremely productive and
competitive, they also bring a variety of economic, environmental and social
Evidence also shows that the very nature of the agricultural structure and
prevailing policies have led to this environmental crisis by favoring large farm
size, specialized production, crop monocultures and mechanization.
Lack of rotations and diversification take away key self-regulating
mechanisms, turning monocultures into highly vulnerable agroecosystems
dependent on high chemical inputs.

Problems due to Fertilizer usage

Fertilizers have been praised as being highly associated with the temporary
increase in food production observed in many countries
But the bountiful harvests created at least in part through the use of chemical
fertilizers, have associated, and often hidden, costs. A primary reason why
chemical fertilizers pollute the environment is due to wasteful application and the
fact that crops use them inefficiently.
The fertilizer that is not recovered by the crop ends up in the environment,
mostly in surface water or in ground water.
Nitrate contamination of aquifers is widespread and in dangerously high levels
in many rural regions of the world.
In the US, it is estimated that more than 25% of the drinking water wells contain
nitrate levels above the 45 ppm safety standard. Such nitrate levels are hazardous
to human health and studies have linked nitrate uptake to methaemoglobinemia in
children and to gastric, bladder and oesophageal cancers in adults

Fertilizer nutrients that enter surface waters (rivers, lakes, bays, etc.) can promote
eutrophication, characterized initially by a population explosion of photosynthetic
Algal blooms turn the water bright green, prevent light from penetrating beneath
surface layers, and therefore killing plants living on the bottom. Such dead
vegetation serve as food for other aquatic microorganisms which soon deplete
water of its oxygen, inhibiting the decomposition of
organic residues, which accumulate on the bottom.
Eventually, such nutrient enrichment of freshwater ecosystems leads to the
destruction of all animal life in the water systems. In the US it is estimated that
about 50-70% of all nutrients that reach surface waters is derived from fertilizers.

Problems Associated with Pesticides

harmful side effects on non-target organisms (people,
animals, soil, water, etc.)
revival of pest populations (because natural control is
the development of resistance
the cost


Impact of Overgrazing

Land Degradation
Soil Erosion
Loss of useful species

Overgrazing occurs when plants are exposed to intensive grazing for
extended periods of time, or without sufficient recovery periods. It
can be caused by either livestock in poorly managed agricultural
applications, or by overpopulations of native or non-native wild
It reduces the usefulness, productivity, and biodiversity of the land
and is one cause of desertification and erosion
Overgrazing is also seen as a cause of the spread of nonnative
plants and weeds.

Ecological Impacts of Overgrazing

Overgrazing typically increases soil erosion. Reduction in soil depth, soil
organic matter and soil fertility impair the land's future productivity.
Soil fertility can sometimes be mitigated by applying the appropriate
lime and fertilizers. However, the loss of soil depth and organic matter
takes centuries to correct. Their loss is critical in determining the soil's
water-holding capacity and how well pasture plants do during dry

Ecological Impacts of Overgrazing

An area almost completely denuded by overgrazing.

Most of what little rain may fall in this area runs off the surface and
cannot benefit the soil's moisture reserves. The chances of vegetation
reestablishing itself are correspondingly reduced.

Water logging / salinisation









precipitation. So that water table rises close to surface. Water

logging results when soils are over irrigated without drainage.
Occurs in clayey soil, soil root zone becomes saturated with so
much water blocking oxygen supply for growth and soil
becomes unsuitable. Carbondioxide and ethylene accumulate
around roots and affects plants


Mineral Resources
Environmental impacts of over extraction of
mineral resources
Food Resources
World food problems

Energy Resources

Readily combustible material, black or brownish-black material
Coal was formed from layer upon layer of annual plant remains
accumulating slowly that were protected from biodegradation by
usually acidic covering waters that gave a natural antiseptic effect
combating microorganisms and then later mud deposits protecting
against oxidization.
Coal, a fossil fuel, is the largest source of energy for the
generation of electricity worldwide, as well as one of the largest
worldwide anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide emissions
Approximately 40% of the world electricity production uses coal
To last for another 200 years, at the present rate of utilization

Types of Coal
Peat a precursor of coal
Lignite brown coal, the lowest rank of coal, exclusively
used for electricity generation
Sub-bituminous coal used as fuel for electricity generation,
synthesis of light aromatic hydrocarbons
Bituminous fuel for electricity, coke
Anthracite residential and commercial space heating
Graphite difficult to ignite, used for producing lubricants

Coal and coal Mining

Environmental Effects of Coal Usage

Release of carbon dioxide Coal is the largest contributor to
the human-made increase of CO2 in the air
Generation of hundred of millions of tons of waste products,
including fly ash, bottom ash, flue gas desulfuriation sludge,
that contain mercury, uranium, thorium, arsenic, and other
heavy metals
Acid rain from high-sulfur coal
Dust nuisance

OPEC (Organization of Petroleum exporting countries). About 1/4th
of the oil reserves are in Saudi Arabia
At the present rate of usage, the world.s crude oil reserves are
estimated to get exhausted in just 40 years.
petroleum gas, kerosene, petrol, diesel, fuel oil, lubricating oil,
paraffin wax, asphalt, plastic etc.
Petroleum is a cleaner fuel as compared to coal as it burns
completely and leaves no residue. It is also easier to transport and
use. That is the reason why petroleum is preferred amongst all the
fossil fuels.

Natural gas
It is mainly composed of methane (95%) with small amounts of
propane and ethane. It is a fossil fuel. Natural gas deposits
mostly accompany oil deposits because it has been formed by
decomposing remains of dead animals and plants buried under
the earth.

Nuclear energy
(i) Nuclear Fission: It is the nuclear change in which
nucleus of certain isotopes with large mass numbers are
split into lighter nuclei on bombardment by neutrons and
a large amount of energy is released

Nuclear fusion: Here two isotopes of a light element

are forced together at extremely high temperatures (1
billion C) until they fuse to form a heavier nucleus
releasing enormous energy in the process.

Energy Content of Fuels

Coal: energy content ~ 24 GJ/Ton (6.67 kW.h/kg)
The typical thermodynamic efficiency of coal power plants is
about 30%, so of the 6.67 kW.h of energy per kilogram of coal,
30% of that2.0 kW.h/kgcan successfully be turned into
electricity; the rest is waste heat. So coal power plants obtain
approximately 2.0 kW.h per kilogram of burned coal.
Oil: 42 GJ/Ton
Natural Gas: 54 GJ/Ton

Energy Usage Distribution

The world average energy consumption per person is equivalent to
2.2 ton of coal per year (~ 1 ton of oil)
In industrialized countries people use four to five time more than the
world average
An American uses 32 times more commercial energy than an Indian

Rate of world energy usage in terawatts (TW) (1965-2005)

Global Energy Usage (2006)

Energy Use by Sector

Renewable Energy Resources

Solar energy
Solar heat collectors
Solar cells
Solar cooker
Solar water heater
Solar furnace
Solar power plant

Solar cell

Solar pump

Solar cocker

Wind energy
The high speed winds have a lot of energy in them as kinetic
energy due to their motion.
The wind energy is harnessed by making use of wind mills. The
blades of the wind mill keep on rotating continuously due to the
force of the striking wind.
The minimum wind speed required for satisfactory working of a
wind generator is 15 km/hr.
The largest wind farm of our country is near Kanyakumari in
Tamil Nadu generating 380 MW electricity.

The water flowing in a river is collected by constructing a big
dam where the water is stored and allowed to fall from a
height. The blades of the turbine located at the bottom of the
dam move with the fast moving water which in turn rotate the
generator and produces electricity.

Tidal energy
gravitational forces of sun and
moon contain enormous amounts of
energy. The high tide. and .low tide.
refer to the rise and fall of water in
the oceans. A difference of several
meters is required between the
height of high and low tide to spin
the turbines.
The bay of Fundy Canada having 17-18 m high tides has a
potential of 5,000 MW of power generation.

Ocean thermal energy (OTE)

The energy available due to the difference in temperature of water at
the surface of the tropical oceans and at deeper levels is called
Ocean Thermal Energy.
A difference of 20C or more is required between surface water and
deeper water of ocean for operating OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy
Conversion) power plants.
The warm surface water of ocean is used to boil a liquid like
ammonia. The high pressure vapours of the liquid formed by boiling
are then used to turn the turbine of a generator and produce
The colder water from the deeper oceans is pumped to cool and
condense the vapours into liquid. Thus the process keeps on going
continuously for 24 hours a day.

Geothermal Energy
The energy harnessed from the hot rocks present inside the earth is
called geothermal energy. High temperature, high pressure steam
fields exist below the earths surface in many places. This heat
comes from the fission of radioactive material naturally present in
the rocks.
Sometimes the steam or boiling water underneath the earth do not
find any place to come out. We can artificially drill a hole up to
the hot rocks and by putting a pipe in it make the steam or hot water
gush out through the pipe at high pressure which turns the turbine of
a generator to produce electricity. In USA and New Zealand, there
are several geothermal plants working successfully.

Biomass Energy
Biomass is the organic matter produced by the plants or
animals which include wood, crop residues, cattle dung,
manure, sewage, agricultural wastes etc.

(a) Energy Plantations: Solar energy is trapped by green plants through

photosynthesis and converted into biomass energy.
crop plants like sugarcane, sugar beet, aquatic weeds like water hyacinth
and sea-weeds and carbohydrate rich potato, cereal etc. are some of the
important energy plantations. They may produce energy either by burning
directly or by getting converted into burnable gas or may be converted into
fuels by fermentation.

(b) Petro-crops: Certain latex-containing plants like Euphorbias and oil

palms are rich in hydrocarbons and can yield an oil like sub- stance under
high temperature and pressure. This oily material may be burned in diesel
engines directly or may be refined to form gasoline. These plants are
popularly known as petro-crops.

(c) Agricultural and Urban Waste biomass: Crop residues,

bagasse (sugarcane residues), coconut shells, peanut hulls, cotton
stalks etc. are some of the common agricultural wastes which
produce energy by burning. Animal dung, fishery and poultry
waste and even human refuse are examples of biomass energy. In
Brazil 30 % of electricity is obtained from burning bagasse. In
rural India, animal dung cakes are burnt to produce heat. About
80 % of rural heat energy requirements are met by burning
agricultural wastes, wood and animal dung cakes.

Bio gas

Biogas is a mixture of methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and

hydrogen sulphide, the major constituent being methane. Biogas
is produced by anaerobic degradation of animal wastes
(sometimes plant wastes) in the presence of water. Anaerobic
degradation means break down of organic matter by bacteria in
the absence of oxygen.

Floating gas holder

Fixed gas Holder

Biomass can be fermented to alcohols like ethanol and
methanol which can be used as fuels. Ethanol can be
easily produced from carbohydrate rich substances
like sugarcane. It burns clean and is non-polluting.
However, as compared to petrol its calorific value is
less and therefore, produces much less heat than

Available Renewable Energy

Role of individual in conservation of natural resources

Natural resources-forest, water, soil, food, mineral and energy
Overuse of these resources cause problems Conserve water:
Dont keep water taps running
Install water saving toilets
Check for water leaks
Reuse soapy water
Use drip and sprinkling irrigation
Conserve energy
Turn off lights, fan when not in use
Use solar cooker for cooking
Try riding bicycle

Protect soil:
Don t uproot plants
Grow grass which binds soil and prevent erosion
Make compost
Use green manure
Don t over irrigate
Use mixed cropping

Promote Sustainable Agriculture

Do not waste food. Take as much as you can eat.
Reduce the use of pesticides.
Fertilize your crop primarily with organic fertilizers.
Use drip irrigation to water the crops.
Eat local and seasonal vegetables. This saves lot of energy on transport,
storage and preservation.

Energy Resources
Renewable and Non Renewable Energy Resources.
Role of individual in conservation of natural resources