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date: 26 September 2023

Natural Resources 

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World
Neeraj VedwanNeeraj Vedwan, Vaclav SmilVaclav Smil

[This entry includes two subentries, an overview and a discussion of natural resources in East Asia.]“Natural resources” refers to naturally occurring substances that serve as inputs for industrial and consumptive uses. They are usually classified as renewable or nonrenewable, and they differ from commodities in their use of labor, which is devoted mainly to their extraction and refining. Renewable natural resources include water, solar radiation, and wind, whereas nonrenewable resources are primarily fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and metals. The value of natural resources depends on their abundance and usefulness for production. A combination of demographic, technological, and political changes, especially since the eighteenth century, has driven the vast expansion in the scale and scope of the exploitation of natural resources. The effects of the increasing human control over the environment have been far reaching, and the costs and benefits continue to generate much controversy.... ...

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