Natural resources can be defined as the components of the environment or natural objects which fulfill human needs. Natural resources have been classified into two;

  1. Organic such as soil, land, water, vegetables (eg forest), wildlife, atmospheric (air) and human
  2. Inorganic such as petroleum, coal, tin and iron ore
    Natural resources can also be grouped into renewable and non- renewable. Natural resources that can be renewed or replaced are water, soil, forest, food and animals. The non-renewable are coal, crude oil, natural gas and the other minerals.
    Conservation of natural resources is the wise management and utilization of natural resources so as to ensure their continued availability and preservation for future generations

Natural resources to be conserved
A. Forest: The forest is conserved by
i. Reforestation or tree replacement method
ii. Restricting the cutting down of economic tree by use of forest guide or law
iii. Establishment of forest reserve
iv. Prevent bush burning
v. Educating the public on the importance of forest conservation
vi. Prevention and treatment of plant disease

B. Wildlife (Animals): The wildlife can be conserved through the
i. Control of hunting or killing of these animals
ii. Establishment of game reserves
iii. Establishment of zoological gardens
iv. Education of public on the values of wildlife
v. Controlling of bush burning
vi. Prohibition of deforestation
vii. Establishment of fish ponds and killing of fish with nets and hooks and not chemicals

C. Soil: the soil can be conserved through the
i. Maintenance of soul fertility
ii. Control of soil erosion
iii. Prevention of bush burning
iv. Crop rotation, shifting cultivation and fallow
v. Control of soil pollution
vi. Education of the public on better utilization of the soil
vii. Planting of cover crops or trees

D. Water: The water is conserved through the
i. Prevention of water pollution
ii. Construction of dams
iii. Irrigation method
iv. Recycling and treatment of used water
v. Channeling of rain water into wells, tanks and other water reservoirs
vi. Water resources to be effectively managed. Such as switching off taps when not in use

E. Mineral resources: The mineral resources can be conserved by
i. Development of improved mining methods
ii. Recycling of used mineral products
iii. Substituting fossil fuel with solar energy
iv. Preventing over production or destruction and checking wastage of the minerals

The need for conservation
Conservation of natural resources is necessary for
i. Preserving the depletion of natural resources especially non-renewable ones
ii. Prevention of species extinction by preserving the rare and valuable ones
iii. Prevention of soil erosion and desert encroachment
iv. It provides raw materials and energy for industries
v. Provides controlled supply of water
vi. Helps to maintain natural succession
vii. Conserved minerals ensure continuous energy supply and is a source of foreign exchange
viii. It prevents illegal or indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources eg mineral

Ways of ensuring conservation

  1. Establishment of forest and game reserves
  2. Establishment of conservation agencies by the government
  3. Enactment of conservation laws
  4. Education of masses on the values of conservation
  5. Setting standards for pollution control

Agencies responsible for conservation in Nigeria

  1. Forestry Department of the States
  2. Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. Nigerian Conservation Foundation
  4. Forest Reserve Authorities (Established In 1982 to conserve our forest and wildlife)

To Do At Home
A. What is conservation of natural resources?
Bi. List various natural resources that need to be conserved
ii. Why their conservation is necessary
C. List the problems often encountered in ensuring conservation of natural resources
D. What are the efforts being employed in your country to ensure conservation of natural resources?