Things given by nature are termed as natural resources. These resources are found under and above the earth’s surface. Natural resources found in India include mineral ores, land, animals, fisheries, forests and energy sources like uranium, gas, petroleum, etc which play a vital role in the economic structure and development of the country.
India has a total area of 32.87 crore hectares with 21.02 % of it being covered by forests. Huge land areas are used for cultivating food grains.
As per 2007 census, the forest cover in India is 21.02 percent of the total geographical area. Dense and open forests cover over 8.35 million hectares in the country. Maintaining ecological balance is important. As per the National Policy on Forests in the year 1988, around 33 percent of the area in India should be covered by forests.
Top grade iron-ore is available in abundance in India with the 10,619 million tones being magnetite and 14.630 million tones of haematite. Magnetite is found in major quantities in Kerala, western coast of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Haematite is found in huge quantities in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Odisha and Jharkhand.
Like aluminum, the main metal source, is Bauxite. It is mainly found in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir and Maharashtra.
Diamond reserves are mostly available in the Rammallakota of Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, Basin of Krishna River and in Panna (Madhya Pradesh).
The latest kimberlile fields are found in Pastar and Raipur districts of Chhastisgarh, Raichur-Gulbarga districts of Karnataka, Narayanpet - Maddur Krishna areas of Andhra Pradesh and Bargarh and Nuapada districts of Odisha.
India tops the world in the production of this heat resisting mineral called Mica. Mica bearing pegmatite occurs in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Gold reserves are found in limited numbers in the 3 gold mine regions of Ramgiri Goldfield in Anantpur district in Andhra Pradesh, the Hutti Goldfield in Raichur district and the Kolar Goldfield in Kolar district (both in Karnataka)
Limestone is found in most states in India with the leading state being Andhra Pradesh, followed by Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Karnatka, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
After USA and China, India ranks third in coal production. Coal is found in abundance in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal Bihar region, Odisha and Maharashtra. Coalfields in Bengal-Jharkhand are abundant in coal. The largest mineral resource found in India, is coal.
Barytes a white and colorless mineral contains barium sulphate and is used for producing the barium metal. Barytes deposits are found mostly in Mangampet oof Cuddaph district in Andhra Pradesh.
Gujarat and Assam are the important places where oil is explored. Oil resources are being explored in many other states of India as well.
Gypsum a white and colorless mineral is used in producing plaster of Paris and cement. Gypsum contains calcium sulphate. Its deposits are found in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
Mineral resources of different types are found in India.
An estimated 114 million tons of situ reserves of chromite are found in India. Out of the total geological resources of 187 million tons, around 73 million tons are found as conditional resources and 114 million tons in situ reserves. Cuttack district in Orissa accounts for a big share of around 96% in the total geological resources. In Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, deposits of economic significance are found. Very meager refractory grade chromite reserves are found, however.
Bauxite Ore deposits also called aluminum are found in 3.076 million tons in principal states like Jharkhand, Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh. Approximately 84% of these deposits are of metallurgical grade.
3. Iron Ore
Top grade iron ore is found in the Bailadila sector of Chhattisgarh, the Barajamda sector in Orissa and Jharkhand and in Bellary-Hospet area of Karnataka. While magnetite resources are located in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Goa, there are Haematite resources found in Rajasthan, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Goa and Karnataka.
Around 712.5 million tons of situ reserves of copper ore in total are found in India. The most important and major deposits of copper ore are found in the Alwar and Jhunjhunu districts (Rajasthan), Balaghat district (Madhya Pradesh) and Singhbhum district (Jharkhand). States like West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh also have small deposits of copper ore.
A major share of dolomite is found in states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Orissa, Karnataka and Gujarat.
Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttaranchal have major deposits of Magnesite while minor deposits are found in Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka.
Lead-Zinc resources are found in Sikkim, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh.
Main reserves of manganese are found in Karnataka, besides Goa, Orissa, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Smaller reserves are also found in Gujarat, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.
Degana in Rajasthan has the main reserves of tungsten, besides Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Maharashtra.
Limestone is largely found in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Gypsum production is confined to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Tamil Nadu. The main gypsum producer is Rajasthan besides Jammu and Kashmir.
Graphite deposits of commercial important are found in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Orissa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have commercial deposits of Fluorspar.
Sheet Mica is produced in very large quantities in states like Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand in India.
The Ramgiri Gold Field in Andhra Pradesh as well as the Hutti Gold Field and Kolar Gold Fields in Karnataka are rich important gold fields.
Some of the main areas, bearing diamonds in India are the gravels of Krishna river basin (Andhra Pradesh), Panna belt in Madhya Pradesh, Wajrakarur Kimberlite pipe in Anantpur district (Andhra Pradesh) and Munimadugu-Banganapalle conglomerate in Kurnool district.
3. Biotic Resources
Living resources like animals and plants are called biotic resources. They play a vital role in the environment’s biotic section for development of the nation. The vegetation of India is varied and rich and the animal life is equally diversely rich. As per the palaeo-botanists, the Thar Desert and Indo-Gangetic Plain in India is abundant with exotic plant species while the Peninsular and Himalayan areas are covered with endemic and indigenous plant flora.
The exotic plant species that have migrated from the trans-Himalayan regions, amount to almost 40 percent. Classified as boreal, the natural vegetation in these areas includes the coniferous forests.
Palaeo-tropical plants are plants in India, having their origin in the tropical region. Plants coming from regions in North Africa have influence vegetation in the semi-arid and arid regions of India. Vegetation in the hilly regions of India has been influenced by those migrating from Indo-Malaysia.
An Assortment Of Forest Resources
Right from the east to the west and from north to the south of India, vegetation exists in a huge variety. Foliage cover also has an extensive regional diversity. It is for this reason that Rajasthan’s one hectare of forest cover and one hectare of forest cover in hilly regions of Kerala, Assam or Kashmir cannot be compared.
Rainfall is higher on the western slopes of the Western Ghats which makes it abundant in evergreen forests. Tropically wet evergreen forests are found in Assam and Kerala. A vegetal cover of thorny bushes and deciduous trees is seen in the drier regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Central India. In the Himalayas, there is an altitudinal change in the forest cover.
While conifers grow in the higher slopes, broad-leaved deciduous trees are found in the valley bottoms. The forest cover is thicker in regions have low population density or in areas that are not very easy to access. Tropical deciduous vegetation comprising of monsoon forests extends between zones having rainfall between 100 cm and 200 cm.
As far as the North Indian Plains are concerned the region does not have forest cover .These plains extending from Punjab to West Bengal have extension of cultivated land and high pressure of population. Firs, deodar and pines in particular grow in abundance in higher altitudes in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The Himalayan terrains are covered by broad-leaved teak and sal trees. Valuable timber is provided by these trees. Along the coastal areas, mangroves are found. Sundari trees grow in abundance in the Sunderbans. Karnataka is known well for its sandalwood forests.
Forests in the uplands of India are cleared, encouraging grasslands in the Uttarakhand hills, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir. Grasslands are also found in the lowlands including Assam and the Indo-Gangetic plains. Elephant grass is found in
Different kinds of riverine grasses like the elephant grass in Punjab and the Bhabhar grass in Terai are found in India. Cattle in huge varieties like the buffaloes like Mehsana and Murrah and cattle like Sahiwal, Hissar and Gir are generally associated with the grasslands.