Resource

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Resource refers to all the materials available in our environment which help us to satisfy our needs and wants. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability — they are classified into renewable and non-renewable resources. They can also be classified as actual and non - potential on the basis of the level of development and use, on the basis of origin they can be classified as biotic and abiotic, and on the basis of their distribution, as ubiquitous and localised (private, community-owned, natural and international resources). An item becomes a resource with time and developing technology. The benefits of resource utilization may include increased wealth, proper functioning of a system, or enhanced well-being. From a human perspective, a natural resource is anything obtained from the environment to satisfy human needs and wants. [1] From a broader biological or ecological perspective, a resource satisfies the needs of a living organism (see biological resource). [2]

Contents

The concept of resources has been developed across many established areas of work, in economics, biology and ecology, computer science, management, and human resources for example - linked to the concepts of competition, sustainability, conservation, and stewardship. In application within human society, commercial or non-commercial factors require resource allocation through resource management.

Economic

In economics a resource is defined as a service or other asset used to produce goods and services that meet human needs and wants. [3] Economics itself has been defined as the study of how society manages and allocates its scarce resources. [4] Classical economics recognizes three categories of resources, also referred to as factors of production: land, labor, and capital. [5] Land includes all natural resources and is viewed as both the site of production and the source of raw materials. Labour or human resources consists of human effort provided in the creation of products, paid in wage. Capital consists of human-made goods or means of production (machinery, buildings, and other infrastructure) used in the production of other goods and services, paid in interest.

Biological

In biology and ecology a resource is defined as a substance that is required by a living organism for normal growth, maintenance, and reproduction (see biological resource). The main essential resources for animals are food, water, and territory. For plants, key resources include sunlight, nutrients, water, and a place to grow. [2] Resources can be consumed by an organism and, as a result, become unavailable to other organisms. Competition for resource varies from complete symmetric (all individuals receive the same amount of resources, irrespective of their size) to perfectly size symmetric (all individuals exploit the same amount of resource per unit biomass) to absolutely size-asymmetric (the largest individuals exploit all the available resource). The degree of size asymmetry has major effects on the structure and diversity of ecological communities, e.g. in plant communities size-asymmetric competition for light has stronger effects on diversity compared with competition for soil resources. The degree of size asymmetry has major effects on the structure and diversity of ecological communities.

Economic versus biological

There are three fundamental differences between economic versus ecological views: 1) the economic resource definition is human-centered (anthropocentric) and the biological or ecological resource definition is nature-centered (biocentric or ecocentric); 2) the economic view includes desire along with necessity, whereas the biological view is about basic biological needs; and 3) economic systems are based on markets of currency exchanged for goods and services, whereas biological systems are based on natural processes of growth, maintenance, and reproduction. [1]

Computer resources

A computer resource is any physical or virtual component of limited availability within a computer or information management system. Computer resources include means for input, processing, output, communication, and storage. [6]

Natural

Natural resources are derived from the environment. Many natural resources are essential for human survival, while others are used for satisfying human desire. Conservation is management of natural resources with the goal of sustainability. Natural resources may be further classified in different ways. [1]

Resources can be categorized on the basis of origin:

Natural resources are also categorized based on the stage of development:

Natural resources can be categorized on the basis of renewability:

Dependent upon the speed and quantity of consumption, overconsumption can lead to depletion or total and everlasting destruction of a resource. Important examples are agricultural areas, fish and other animals, forests, healthy water and soil, cultivated and natural landscapes. Such conditionally renewable resources are sometimes classified as a third kind of resource, or as a subtype of renewable resources. Conditionally renewable resources are presently subject to excess human consumption and the only sustainable long term use of such resources is within the so-called zero ecological footprint, where in human use less than the Earth's ecological capacity to regenerate.

Natural resources are also categorized based on distribution:

Actual vs. potential natural resources are distinguished as follows:

On the basis of ownership, resources can be classified as individual, community, national, and international.

Labour or human resources

In economics, labor or human resources refers to the human effort in the production of goods and rendering of services. Human resources can be defined in terms of skills, energy, talent, abilities, or knowledge. [5]

In a project management context, human resources are those employees responsible for undertaking the activities defined in the project plan. [7]

Capital or infrastructure

In social studies, capital refers to already-produced durable goods used in production of goods or services. In essence, capital refers to human-made resources created using knowledge and expertise based on utility or perceived value. Common examples of capital include buildings, machinery, railways, roads, and ships. As resources, capital goods may or may not be significantly consumed, though they may depreciate in the production process and they are typically of limited capacity or unavailable for use by others.

Tangible versus intangible

Whereas, tangible resources such as equipment have an actual physical existence, intangible resources such as corporate images, brands and patents, and other intellectual properties exist in abstraction. [8]

Use and sustainable development

Typically resources cannot be consumed in their original form, but rather through resource development they must be processed into more usable commodities and usable things. With the increasing population, the demand for resources is increasing. There are marked differences in resource distribution and associated economic inequality between regions or countries, with developed countries using more natural resources than developing countries. Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment. [1] Sustainable development means that we should exploit our resources carefully to meet our present requirement without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The practice of the three R's – reduce, reuse and recycle must be followed in order to save and extend the availability of resources.

Various problems relate to the usage of resources:

Various benefits can result from the wise usage of resources:

See also

Related Research Articles

Natural resource Resources that exist without actions of humankind

Natural resources are resources that exist without any actions of humankind. This includes the sources of valued characteristics such as commercial and industrial use, aesthetic value, scientific interest and cultural value. On Earth, it includes sunlight, atmosphere, water, land, all minerals along with all vegetation, and animal life. Natural resources can be part of our natural heritage or protected in nature reserves.

Sustainable development Mode of human development

Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services on which the economy and society depend. The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resources are used to continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development can be defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability goals, such as the current UN-level Sustainable Development Goals, address the global challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.

Resource depletion

Resource depletion is the consumption of a resource faster than it can be replenished. Natural resources are commonly divided between renewable resources and non-renewable resources. Use of either of these forms of resources beyond their rate of replacement is considered to be resource depletion. The value of a resource is a direct result of its availability in nature and the cost of extracting the resource, the more a resource is depleted the more the value of the resource increases. There are several types of resource depletion, the most known being: Aquifer depletion, deforestation, mining for fossil fuels and minerals, pollution or contamination of resources, slash-and-burn agricultural practices, Soil erosion, and overconsumption, excessive or unnecessary use of resources.

Non-renewable resource

A non-renewable resource is a natural resource that cannot be readily replaced by natural means at a pace quick enough to keep up with consumption. An example is carbon-based fossil fuels. The original organic matter, with the aid of heat and pressure, becomes a fuel such as oil or gas. Earth minerals and metal ores, fossil fuels and groundwater in certain aquifers are all considered non-renewable resources, though individual elements are always conserved.

Renewable resource Natural resource that is replenished relatively quickly

A renewable resource, also known as a flow resource, is a natural resource which will replenish to replace the portion depleted by usage and consumption, either through natural reproduction or other recurring processes in a finite amount of time in a human time scale. When such recovery rate of resources is unlikely to ever exceed a human time scale, these are called perpetual resources. Renewable resources are a part of Earth's natural environment and the largest components of its ecosphere. A positive life-cycle assessment is a key indicator of a resource's sustainability.

Exploitation of natural resources

The exploitation of natural resources is the use of natural resources for economic growth, sometimes with a negative connotation of accompanying environmental degradation. It started to emerge on an industrial scale in the 19th century as the extraction and processing of raw materials developed much further than it had in preindustrial areas. During the 20th century, energy consumption rapidly increased. Today, about 80% of the world's energy consumption is sustained by the extraction of fossil fuels, which consists of oil, coal and natural gas.

Sustainable yield

The sustainable yield of natural capital is the ecological yield that can be extracted without reducing the base of capital itself, i.e. the surplus required to maintain ecosystem services at the same or increasing level over time. The term only refers to resources that are renewable in nature as extracting non-renewable resources will always diminish the natural capital. The sustainable yield of a given resource will generally vary over time with the needs of the ecosystem to maintain itself, e.g. a forest that has recently suffered a blight or flooding or fire will require more of its own ecological yield to sustain and re-establish a mature forest. While doing so, the sustainable yield may be much less. The term sustainable yield is most commonly used in forestry, fisheries, and groundwater applications.

Environmental resource management Type of resource management

Environmental resource management is the management of the interaction and impact of human societies on the environment. It is not, as the phrase might suggest, the management of the environment itself. Environmental resources management aims to ensure that ecosystem services are protected and maintained for future human generations, and also maintain ecosystem integrity through considering ethical, economic, and scientific (ecological) variables. Environmental resource management tries to identify factors affected by conflicts that rise between meeting needs and protecting resources. It is thus linked to environmental protection, sustainability, integrated landscape management, natural resource management, fisheries management, forest management, and wildlife management, and others.

Energy industry Industries involved in the production and sale of energy

The energy industry is the totality of all of the industries involved in the production and sale of energy, including fuel extraction, manufacturing, refining and distribution. Modern society consumes large amounts of fuel, and the energy industry is a crucial part of the infrastructure and maintenance of society in almost all countries.

Environmental good

Environmental goods are typically non-market goods, including clean air, clean water, landscape, green transport infrastructure, public parks, urban parks, rivers, mountains, forests, and beaches. Environmental goods are a sub-category of public goods. Concerns with environmental goods focus on the effects that the exploitation of ecological systems have on the economy, the well-being of humans and other species, and on the environment. Users not having to pay an upfront cost and external factors like pollution that can damage environmental goods indefinitely are some of the challenges in protecting environmental goods.

This is a glossary of environmental science.

Sustainability Process of maintaining change in a balanced fashion

Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing way across various domains of life. In the 21st century, it refers generally to the capacity for Earth's biosphere and human civilization to co-exist. It is also defined as the process of people maintaining change in a homeostasis-balanced environment, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. For many in the field, sustainability is defined through the following interconnected domains or pillars: environmental, economic and social. Sub-domains of sustainable development have been considered also: cultural, technological and political.

Natural resource economics

Natural resource economics deals with the supply, demand, and allocation of the Earth's natural resources. One main objective of natural resource economics is to better understand the role of natural resources in the economy in order to develop more sustainable methods of managing those resources to ensure their availability for future generations. Resource economists study interactions between economic and natural systems, with the goal of developing a sustainable and efficient economy.

Anthropization

In geography and ecology, anthropization is the conversion of open spaces, landscapes, and natural environments by human action.

Index of environmental articles Wikipedia index

The natural environment, commonly referred to simply as the environment, includes all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth.

Overexploitation Depleting a renewable resource

Overexploitation, also called overharvesting, refers to harvesting a renewable resource to the point of diminishing returns. Continued overexploitation can lead to the destruction of the resource. The term applies to natural resources such as: wild medicinal plants, grazing pastures, game animals, fish stocks, forests, and water aquifers.

The biocapacity or biological capacity of an ecosystem is an estimate of its production of certain biological materials such as natural resources, and its absorption and filtering of other materials such as carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Weak and strong sustainability

Although related subjects, sustainable development and sustainability are different concepts. Weak sustainability is an idea within environmental economics which states that 'human capital' can substitute 'natural capital'. It is based upon the work of Nobel Laureate Robert Solow, and John Hartwick. Contrary to weak sustainability, strong sustainability assumes that "human capital" and "natural capital" are complementary, but not interchangeable.

Eco-restructuring is the implication for an ecologically sustainable economy. The principle of ecological modernization establishes the core literature of the functions that eco-restructuring has within a global regime. Eco-restructuring has an emphasis on the technological progressions within an ecological system. Government officials implement environmental policies to establish the industrial- ecological progressions that enable the motion of economic modernization. When establishing economic growth, policy makers focus on the progression towards a sustainable environment by establishing a framework of ecological engineering. Government funding is necessary when investing in efficient technologies to stimulate technological development.

Natural Resources Engineering, the sixth Abet accredited environmental engineering program in the United States, is a subset of environmental engineering that applies various branches of science in order to create new technology that aims to protect, maintain, and establish sustainable natural resources. Specifically, natural resources engineers are concerned with applying engineering concepts and solutions to prevalent environmental issues. Common natural resources this discipline of engineering works closely with include both living resources such as plants and animals as well as non-living resources such as renewable energy, land, soils, and water. Natural resource engineering also involves researching and evaluating natural and societal forces. The hydrological cycle is the main component of natural forces and the desires of other people attribute to societal forces. Some historical examples of applications of natural resources engineering include the Roman aqueducts and the Hoover Dam.

References

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  7. Hut, PM (2008-09-07). "Getting and Estimating Resource Requirements - People". Pmhut.com. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
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