Resources are unevenly distributed in an amount, and quality, and do not match uneven distribution of population and demand, a consideration of natural resources falls within the location distributional tradition of the discipline of geography. In this chapter, natural resources on which societies depend, their patterns of production and consumption, and the problem of managing those resources in light of growing demands and reserves.
A resource is a naturally occurring, material that a society to be useful to its economic and material well-being. In this chapter, we devote our attention to physically occurring resources as they are more commonly called natural resources. Natural resources are a function of two things: the physical characteristics of the resources themselves, and human economic and technological conditions. The physical processes that govern the formation, distribution and occurrence of natural resources are determined by physical laws over which people have no direct control.
Renewable resources are materials that can be regenerated in nature as fast or faster than they are exploited by society. Forests are a renewable resource only if people are planting at least as many trees as are being cut.
Nonrenewable Resources are generated in nature so slowly that for all practical purposes the supply is great. This includes the fossil fuels (coal, crude oil, natural gas, oil, and tar sands). Fortunately, many minerals can be reused even though they cannot be replaced. If they are not chemically destroyed, that is, if they retain their original chemical composition, they are potentially reusable.
The actual or potential key nonrenewable resources make it desirable to predict their availability in the future. However, proved reserves, quantities of a resource that can be profitably from known deposits, only the portion of the rectangle indicated by the amounts that have been identified and that can be recovered under existing economic and operating conditions.