CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Definition: Conservation is defined as the planned, control exploitation or judicious use of natural resources to ensure their continuous availability and to preserve the quality or original nature of the environment. In other words, conservation is the preservation of natural resources from loss, waste or exploitation through rational use and to ensure their continued use or availability and preserve the quality or original nature of the natural resources
Natural resources can be renewable or non-renewable.
(i) Renewable natural resources: These are natural resources that are recoverable. Examples are rain, animals, plants, water, and food and soil.
(ii)Non-renewable natural resources: These are resources which when exhausted cannot be replaced or recovered. Examples are mainly mineral resources like petroleum, coal, tin, copper etc.
Need or Reasons for Conservation
(i) To prevent destruction of natural environment or to allow for continued use of natural resources for man’s benefits
(ii) To preserve rare and valuable species of plants and animals for the future generation or to save them from extinction or permanent destruction.
(iii) To preserve naturally beautiful sceneries for their aesthetic values
(iv) To promote the recycling of some scarce mineral resources, e.g. water
(v) To prevent the destruction of natural ecosystem; this will allow the organisms in the ecosystem to survive.
(vi) Forest which provides medicinal materials must be conserved to ensure easy availability and continued existence.
(vii) Natural resources, e.g. wild life, forest, minerals etc provide basis for research purposes.
Natural Resources that Need to be Conserved
Natural resources that need to be conserved include wildlife, water, forest, soil, air and mineral resources.
- What is conservation of natural resources?
- State five needs for conservation.
Methods of Conserving Natural Resources
Methods of Conserving Wildlife
i) Establishment of game or forest reserves
ii) Establishment of zoological gardens.
iii) Control of hunting to prevent extinction of some animal species
iv) Prohibition of killing or poaching of animals in game reserves.
v) Prohibition of bush burning as this may lead to migration or displacement of wildlife.
vi) Prohibition of deforestation and encouragement of afforestation or reafforestation.
vii) Creation of awareness on the values of wildlife.
(viii) Prevention of pollution to prevent the destruction of aquatic life.
Methods of Conserving Forest
(i) Cutting of trees without destroying the undergrowth
ii) Reafforestation or encouraging the planting of trees.
iii) Prevention of bush burning or careless forest fires.
iv) Prevention of plant pests and diseases.
v) Establishment of forest reserves.
vi) Educating the public on the value of forests and the importance of conservation.
Methods of Conserving Soil
i) Prevention of overgrazing which may cause soil erosion.
ii) Prevention of indiscriminate felling of trees or deforestation which exposes the soil to erosion.
iii) Adoption of better farming practices, e.g. crop rotation so as to prevent erosion, leaching, water logging or acidity.
iv) Prevention of pollution of land so as not to destroy useful soil organisms
(v) Avoidance of clean clearing which may expose the soil to erosion
(VI) Prevention of bush burning which may expose the soil to erosion.
Methods of Conserving Air
i) Prevention of effluents from factories or factory chimneys which may pollute the air or cause acid rain
ii) Prevention of fumes from automobile or thermal plants which may affect aerial life
iii) Proper treatment and disposal of sewage
iv) Proper burning of wastes so as to prevent smoke or soot from polluting the air
Methods of Conserving Mineral
Mineral resources, unlike other resources are non-renewable resources because once they are exhausted, they cannot be replaced hence the need to conserve. The methods of conserving mineral resources are:
- There should be legislation against indiscriminate mining of mineral resources.
- Effective and efficient extraction of mineral should be adopted to prevent wastages.
- There should be effective and efficient utilization of available mineral resources for man’s use.
- Over dependence on a particular mineral resource should be discouraged as this can lead to the depletion of such mineral resource.
- There should be proper pricing of mineral resources and their by-products to ensure maximum value for the mineral products.
- State five methods of conserving forest.
- Suggest five ways of preventing depletion of soil.
Importance or Benefits of Conservation Of Natural Resources
Benefits of Wildlife Resources Conservation
- It provides food for human consumption
- It can serve as tourist centres for pleasure and relaxation.
- It serves as sources of food supply, e.g. fish, prawns, crayfish etc.
- It is used for Hydro-Electric Power (H.E.P.) generation which provides electricity, e.g. Kainji dam.
- Water is useful for agricultural purposes, i.e., irrigation.
- Water serves as a medium of transportation in rivers, lakes and oceans.
- Water is important for domestic and industrial uses, e.g. drinking, washing, cooking etc.
- Water can be used for recreational and tourist purposes.
- Water provides employment for people, e.g. fishermen, canoe or ship builders etc.
Benefits of Forest Resources Conservation
- Forests are sources of food supply, e.g. fruit, vegetables, meat etc.
- Forests are sources of timber for construction purposes.
- Forests provide medicinal herbs.
- They are sources of firewood used for cooking.
- Forests are the home or habitat of wild animals which can serve as game reserves.
- Forests provide employment for some people, e.g. forest guards, lumbermen and hunters.
- Forest provides raw materials for industries, e.g. cotton, rubber, ropes and twine, latex, timber, etc.
- Forests can serve as centers of tourism.
- Forests can also serve as wind break.
Benefits of Soil Resources Conservation
- Soil supports agricultural or farming.
- It supports the growth of valuable wood for building and furniture making.
- Buildings are erected on the soil.
- Mineral resources are obtained from the soil.
Benefits of Air Resources Conservation
- Air provides oxygen used in respiration by plants and animals.
- It provides carbon dioxide used by plants for photosynthesis.
- Air also provides gaseous nitrogen used by plant to manufacture proteins.
- Air is the habitat of most organisms, e.g. birds, insects etc.
- It makes life more meaningful and comfortable.
Benefits of Mineral Resources Conservation
- Mineral resources provide fuel, e.g. coal, petroleum and natural gas, for use.
- They are used for construction purposes, e.g. iron, zinc, aluminium.
- Some are used for industrial development, e.g. diamond, iron, copper, silver etc.
- Some are sources of ornaments, e.g. gold, silver, bronze etc.
- Minerals are sources of foreign exchange.
- They also provide employment, e.g. miners, drillers, marketers etc.
- State three benefits of conserving soil.
- Mention two benefits of conserving petroleum in Nigeria.
Ways of Ensuring the Conservation of Natural Resources
(1) Establishment of agencies for conservation: Agencies are established ensure that these natural resources are conserved, e.g. preservation of wildlife forest resources, water resources, air, soil and mineral resources. Agencies for conservation are:
(i) Nigerian Conservation Foundation.
(ii) Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA)
(iii) River Basin Development Authorities (RBDA).
(iv) Ministries of Agricultural.
(v) Department of wildlife Conservation.
(2) Establishment of Game Reserves or National Parks: The game reserves or national parks serve for the protection of wildlife, rare or endangered species and for recreational purposes as well as scientific purposes.
Some game reserves in Nigeria include:
(i) Yankari game reserve in Bauchi.
(ii) Borgu game reserve in Niger State.
(iii) Shasha river forest in Ogun State.
(iv) Olomu forest reserve in Kwara State.
(v) Mamu river forest reserve in Anambra State.
(vi) Zamfara forest reserve in Zamfara State.
(3) Making of conservation laws, edicts or decrees: These laws, edicts or decrees are made by government to regulate the felling of trees, hunting or exploitation of endangered species or indiscriminate exploitation of mineral resources. These laws must be obeyed.
(4) Conservation education: Conservation education serves to inform the populace about the need to conserve natural resources and the consequences of extermination or exhaustion of such resources like trees, wildlife and minerals.
Problems Associated with Conservation
The following are challenges encountered in the process of conserving resources:
(i) Soil erosion caused by natural wind, rainfall and run-offs.
(ii) Land, air and water pollution.
(iii) Occurrence of natural disaster such as earthquakes and floods.
(iv) Overgrazing caused by domestic livestock.
(v) Indiscriminate hunting leading to wildlife disappearance.
(vi) Indiscriminate bush burning and felling of timber leading to disappearance of wild plants and animals.
(vii) indiscriminate fishing leading to depletion of aquatic life.;
(viii) Adoption of poor farming methods, e.g. bush fallowing, shifting cultivation and continuous cropping which leads to depletion of soil nutrients.
(ix) Problem of oil spillage which leads to loss of terrestrial and aquatic life.
- What is conservation?
- Mention five factors affecting conservation of natural resources.
- List five conservation agencies in Nigeria.
- State five benefits of conserving resources.
- Give five natural resources that need to be conserved.
- The planned use of natural resources to ensure the continuous availability is A. Preservation B. Conservation C. Storage D. Exploitation.
- These are examples of renewable natural resources except A. Rain B. Petroleum C. Plants D. Soil
- The following are agencies for conservation except A. FEPA B. RBDA C. Ministry of Agriculture D. VMA
- Borgu game reserve can be found in A. Abia B. Benue C. Niger D. Anambra
- The following farm practices lead to depletion of soil nutrients except A. Bush fallowing B. Shifting cultivation C. Continuous cropping D. Crop rotation
- (a) Define the term “Conservation”. (b) State three reasons for conservation.
- List two methods of conserving each of the following (a) Water (b) wildlife (c) forest
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