PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY

MINERAL RESOURCES

Minerals, unlike other resources are non-renewable resources because once they are exhausted, they cannot be replaced. Mineral resources are grouped into the followings: Mineral fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as iron, copper, tin, aluminium, lead and zinc. Industrial metal e.g. gold, mercury, diamond, silver, graphite and limestone. Ornamental minerals e.g. gold, silver and diamond.   Importance of Mineral Resources Sources of fuel: These include coal, petroleum and natural gas. They provide power and energy for domestic and industrial use. Petrol, from petroleum, is used as fuel for vehicles, and natural gas for cooking. Construction purposes: Some minerals like iron, aluminium and zinc are used for construction e.g. iron ore is the basis of industrial development and construction of bridges and houses. Zinc is required for roofing sheets and lead for water and oil pipes. Industrial development: Diamond, iron, copper, silver and graphite are useful for industrial development e.g. diamond, the hardest known metal, is used in cutting other metals, and graphite is used in making pencils. Sources of ornamentals: Some minerals like gold, silver, bronze are used as ornamental wares or jewellery. Gold is said to be the queen of metals because it is the most valuable metal used in making wrist watches, chains, etc. Sources of foreign exchange: Most minerals sold to other countries provide foreign exchange for development e.g. petroleum in Nigeria. Provision of employment: People engaged in the mining of these minerals get jobs as miners, drillers, engineers, etc. Provision of basic amenities: Amenities and infrastructures like electricity, pipe-borne water, roads and telephone are provided in areas where mining takes place, thereby promoting the development of such places. Provision of raw materials for industries: Various minerals are supplied to industries for the production of various goods e.g. Petroleum for refinery industries. Feldspar for ceramic tile industries. Limestone for cement industries.   Problems Resulting from the Exploitation of Mineral Resources The exploitation of mineral resources can lead to the following problems: Soil erosion. Environmental pollution. Oil spillage. Loss of plants and animals lives. Increased cost of production. Land degradation. Reduction in agricultural lands and production.   RENEWABLE AND NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCES Natural resources can be renewable or nonrenewable. Renewable natural resources: These are natural resources that are recoverable. Examples are rain, animals, plants, water, air, food and soil. Non-renewable natural resources: These are resources which when exhausted can not be replaced or recovered. Examples are mainly mineral resources like petroleum, coal, tin and copper.

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VEGETATION RESOURCES

Vegetation resources include all the resources one can get from the forest and savanna for the benefit of man, animals and plants. Vegetation resources include timber, roots, leaves, barks of trees, latex, fruits, fibre, firewood and wild animals.   Importance of Vegetation Resources to Man Sources of food supply: Resources like fruits (mango, orange), leaves in form of vegetables, bush meat from wild animals provide food for man. Sources of timber: Timber like Iroko, Obeche, Mahogany, etc are sources of planks and plywood used for building and furniture. Timber also provides foreign exchange for the nation. Medicinal herbs: Leaves, roots and barks of some trees are used to prepare medicine for curing various diseases e.g. the neem plant is used to provide medicine for curing malaria fever. Source of firewood: Firewood or fuelwood is used to provide fuel for cooking food, warming the body during cold weather, for drying fish, etc. Development of game reserves: Forest and savanna are the home of wildlife which can serve as game reserves, e.g. Yankari Games Reserve. Employment: Forest provides employment to some people, e.g. forest guards, lumbermen, sawn millers and hunters. Prevention of erosion: Leaves of plants and grasses help to prevent water and wind erosion. Provision of furniture: Timber derived from the forest is sawn into planks and plywood used in making chairs, tables, doors and windows. Tourism: Forest and savanna are also centres of tourism which can also generate foreign exchange to nations. Industrial use   Fibres from trees are used by industries to make clothing materials, ropes and twine. Rubber latex is processed for use in making tyres, tubes, rubber shoes, plastic containers, etc. Wood is also used in making paper and tissues.   Problems Resulting from Exploitation of Vegetation Resources The exploitation of vegetation resources can lead to the following problems: Soil erosion: The exploitation of vegetation resources such as timber can lead to soil erosion. Depletion of natural forest products: The continuous exploitation of vegetation resources also leads to the depletion of natural forest products. High cost of exploitation: Huge amount of money is involved in the exploitation of vegetation resources especially timber. Soil leaching: Due to the depletion of vegetation cover, the soil is now exposed to heavy leaching of soil nutrients. Flooding: Continuous removal of vegetation can also expose the soil to flooding. Disappearance of wild life: The continuous removal of vegetation resources can also lead to the disappearance of wild life. Transportation problems: The cost of transportation of most forest resources like timber is always very high from the forest to the cities.   Solutions to the problems resulting from exploitation of vegetation resources Forest guards should be employed to check illegal felling and ensure planting of new trees. Roads should be constructed round lumbering areas for easy transportation of logs. Afforestation i.e. the policy of planting of two trees in an area where one tree is cut should be encouraged. Re-afforestation i.e the practice of clearing the bush of bad trees and planting valuable ones to replace them should also be encouraged. Bush fallowing should be discouraged. Bush burning should also be discouraged.

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WATER RESOURCES

Water resources refer to any useful material (living or non-living) inside water which are of benefit to man, animals and plants. Water resources are some of the most important environmental resources of man. Sources of water: Sources of water include oceans, rivers, lakes, rain, springs, reservoirs, wells and boreholes.   Importance of Water Resources to Man Sources of food supply: Fishing in oceans, lakes and rivers are known to provide food for man in form of fish, prawns, crayfish, crab, etc. Generation of Hydro-Electric Power (H.E.P): Many rivers are dammed in areas of waterfalls and rapids for the purpose of generating electricity e.g. Kainji and Shiroro dams. Agricultural purposes: Water from rivers, lakes, wells, boreholes, etc are used for irrigation purposes, especially in areas of low rainfall, to aid crop cultivation. Medium of transportation: Rivers e.g. Rivers Benue and Niger, lakes and oceans provide a useful medium by which people and goods are transported from one place to another. Domestic use: Water from lakes,rain, rivers, boreholes are used for cooking, washing, bathing and drinking. Industrial use: Water from rivers, lakes, boreholes is used by textile, brewery and chemical industries for production. Provision of employment: Oceans, lakes and rivers also provide people with jobs e.g. fishermen, canoe and ship builders. Recreation /Tourism: Water in lakes, oceans and rivers is used by people for sports e.g. swimming, diving for relaxation and tourism e.g. Bar Beach and Lekki Beach. Sources of minerals: Water from seas and oceans is a major source of domestic and industrial salts. Petroleum is also associated with the oceans. Source of ornaments: The oceans provide valuable ornaments like corals and beads.   Problems of Degradation of Water Resources Destruction of aquatic life. Water poisoning. Inadequate fresh and pure water for domestic purpose. Inadequate fresh and pure water for industrial use. Unemployment among fishermen. Scarcity of sea foods. High cost of water treatment.

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ATMOSPHERIC RESOURCES

Atmospheric resources are those elements such as wind, water, sunlight and gases found in the atmosphere which are of benefit to man, animals and plants. Types of Atmospheric Resources Atmospheric gases, e.g. oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water vapour, ozone layer and some inert gases like neon, argon and helium. Wind. Rain. Solar energy.   The percentage composition of these gases in the atmosphere includes oxygen(21%), nitrogen (78%), inert gases like argon and neon (0.93%), carbon dioxide (0.03%), water vapour including some impurities like smoke and dust is negligible.   Importance of Atmospheric Resources (1) Gases (a) Oxygen Oxygen is used by plants and animals for respiration. It also supports burning of materials(i.e. combustion). Oxygen supports animal life. Oxygen combines with water vapour (oxidation) for chemical weathering. Oxygen is also used for industrial purposes.   (a) Carbon dioxide It is required by plant for photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide combines with water to produce chemical weathering (carbonation). Green plants take in carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide absorbs heat to control atmospheric temperature in the carbon cycle.   (c) Nitrogen Nitrogen is required by plants for the manufacture of proteins. It combines with water to provide food for plant growth. Nitrogen in soil can be converted to nitrate in the soil. Nitrogen gas is used in electrical industry.   (d) Ozone: The ozone layer acts as a blanket to the earth. It protects the earth and its living things against the burning effects of ultraviolet rays of the sun.   (e) Water vapour It is important for rain formation. The resultant rain is used by plants and animals in the process of chemical weathering. Water vapour moderates atmospheric temperature.   (2) Rain It provides water for human consumption. It provides water for agriculture. It reduces temperature and feeds rivers with water. It is a source of underground water.   (3) Sunlight or Solar energy It provides solar energy for drying clothes. It is also used for drying agricultural products. For heating, cooking and cooling processes. It is used for generating electricity. It is required by plants for photosynthesis. It also provides or is a source of vitamin D. It is used for removing salt from sea water. It is useful in food chain.   (4) Wind Wind can be harnessed for wind mills and used for pumping water. It aids drying of clothes and crops. It is used in meteorological studies. It aids sailing of ships and aviation. It is useful in winnowing and pollination. It is used for sporting e.g. yatching. It is used for dispersal of seeds.   Problems Involved in Harnessing Solar Poor technological know-how, such as storage. Inadequate capital i.e. high cost of harnessing it. Fear of competition with established energy sources. Unreliability e.g periods when the sun is not overhead.   Ways in which Human Activities Affect the Composition of the Atmosphere These include: Emission of carbon dioxide through burning fossil fuel such as coal, petrol and gas. Deforestation. Use of chemical, biological and nuclear warfare. Release of toxic waste. Bush burning. Pollutants emitted from industrial activities. Pollutants emitted from mining and construction works.   Physical changes Associated with Increasing reduction of the Ozone layer As the ozone layer decreases, the amount of ultra-violet rays increases in the atmosphere. The increase in ultra-violet rays increases the amount of solar radiation on the earth’s surface. Excessive ultra-violet rays lead to increase in skin cancer in man. Increased temperature leads to melting of polar ice and this leads to rise in sea levels. Possible increase in precipitation. Death of chlorophyll in plants leading to inability of plants to manufacture food.

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MEANING OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES

Environmental resources refer to any useful item in the environment, or materials and substances that are useful to man. In other words, environmental resources are useful things (both living and non-living) occurring naturally within a particular geographical location which are of benefit to man, animals and plants. Any useful thing we can find in water, atmosphere, vegetation and land are all examples of environmental resources. Environmental resources refer to resources within the environment that are useful to man. In other words, these are materials or substances and other forces like wind that are useful to man. Types of Environmental Resources: There are five main environmental resources and these are: Atmospheric resources. Water resources. Vegetation resources. Human resources. Mineral resources. Land resources.

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