Any resources that exist on this earth by nature are called natural resources. They are like water, air, soil, forest, minerals, and sunlight. The existence of life is possible on earth due to the availability of these natural resources. If these resources were not available, the life would not have been possible in the earth. Let us talk about natural resources of Nepal in this article.
With an area of 147,181 sq. KM and population around 30 million, Nepal lies in the countries in between India and China. So, Nepal is a landlocked country. It covers 0.1 % of the Asia and 0.01 % of the total world. Nepal is most famous for the world tallest peak Mount Everest. Natural resources of Nepal include forest, land, water and minerals.
Forest is considered as one of the major natural resources of Nepal. Forest covers about 25.4% of the total land of Nepal according to FAO in 2005. However, there has been a drastic change in this percentage in the present context. Due to the rapid population growth and unmanaged urbanization, the land covered by forest has been changed into cultivable land. So, to protect and conserve the forest area, the government of Nepal has divided forest area into three categories. They are protected forest, conserved forest, and production forest.
Nepal is an agricultural country and there are large numbers of people who still depend on the forest for their firewood. Besides it, many industries like paper production, furniture, and timber industry depend upon the forest. Forest of Nepal is the homes of medicinal herbs through which medicines are produced. Still, large quantities of herbs are exported to other countries since there is a lack of medicine Production Company.
Forest is also the home to wild animals and birds. Nepal has a large number of conservation areas that has helped to protect the forest and conserve the wildlife. These conservation areas are the source for attracting tourists in Nepal. It has helped to improve the economy of the country. Forest also plays an important role in controlling the landslides and flood. It helps to balance the ecosystem of the environment. So, the forest needs to be protected.
A soil is another an important natural resources of Nepal since more than 70% of people are still dependent on agriculture. Nepal occupies about 0.01 % of the world land which is just an area of 147,181 sq. km. Nepal is a landlocked country and it has been divided into three major parts. They are Terai, Hilly, and Himalayan.
Terai is plain and flat with 17 % of the total land suitable for agriculture. It is also called the green belt of Nepal since most of the agricultural products like rice, wheat, jute, paddy, tobacco, sugarcane, oilseed, potatoes, coconut, maize etc are exported from Terai to Hilly and Himalayan. Hilly is steep but however, some parts of the land are suitable for agriculture products like rice, paddy, potatoes, wheat, maize. Himalayan is covered by rocks, mountains, and snow. So, agriculture is difficult in this region. They mostly import goods from Hilly and Terai. The Himalayan region, however, has an abundance source of medicinal herbs.
In Nepal, various types of soil are available. They are like alluvial soil, rocky soil, sandy soil, lacustrine soil and mountain soil.
Nepal has abundance sources of water. After Brazil, Nepal is considered as the second richest country in water resources. The major sources of water in Nepal are mountains, glaciers, and snow. There are eight mountains which height is above 8000m and many glaciers, ponds in the Himalayan region which flow as rivers in Hilly and Terai region. Rivers like Karnali, Bagmati, Seti, Kaligandaki, Mahakali, Koshi, Gandaki, Bhotekoshi, Sunksohi are the famous in Nepal. Similarly, lakes like Rara, Phewa, Tilicho, Shey Phoksundo are famous tourist spots in Nepal where thousands of tourist visit yearly.
Since water is an important natural resource in Nepal, it has been used in the production of electricity, irrigation projects, drinking purpose, household activities, fish farming etc. Nepal has the capacity to produce a large megawatt of electricity but it has failed to do so due to which Nepal is suffering from the massive load shedding. People of the capital city are facing the scarce of drinking water. Agriculture in Terai has not been effective due to lack of water. As a whole, the availability of this natural resource has not been able to fully utilize by the government of Nepal.
Nepal is rich in minerals which are another important natural resources available here. There are a large number of minerals like metallic, non-metallic, fuel, stones etc found mostly in the mountainous part of the country. Gold, limestone, mica, copper, irons are also available in Nepal based on researched. It has been recently researched that Nepal has a possibility of petroleum products in the cities like Nepalgunj, Biratnagar, Dailekh, Pyuthan. The research is going on and if possible, there is the possibility of establishing the petroleum industry in Nepal in near future. Similarly, minerals like limestone are used for the cement production. They are found in Surkhet, Hetauda, Chovar. A research team has revealed that Kathmandu and Mustang have abundance sources of natural gasses available but it is not confirmed yet officially.
Nepal is a developing country and it lacks the modern technology, skilled manpower, and capital to extract the minerals and established the mining industries. There is no hard and fast rule made by the government due to which even if the international company want to invest their capital in our minerals, they don’t have any authorize. It takes a long process. The government of Nepal needs to focus on this matter since it will help to solve the unemployment problem in Nepal at some level.
Natural resources are a very important factor for the survival of human beings. They need to be protected, conserved and properly utilized. Since Nepal is taking a step forward in development, it needs to protect and conserved its natural resources as possible by formulating strong rules and regulations.