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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?