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15 Examples of Natural Resources

 , updated on March 02, 2019
A natural resource is value that exists naturally without being created by people. This includes renewable resources that can be replenished with time and non-renewable resources that become depleted with use. The following are common examples of natural resources.


The atmosphere of the Earth. Generally speaking, clean air that has a natural composition is more valuable to human quality of life than air that is contaminated with pollutants such as particulate matter.


Water including fresh water, salt water, snow and ice. As with air, clean water is more valuable than polluted water. In many cases, fresh water is more valuable to humans than salt water as it can be consumed and used to grow crops.


Land including soil that can be used to grow food.

Geographical Features

Naturally created features of the planet such as oceans, lakes, rivers, mountains, rock formations and beaches. In some cases, a geographical feature is valued for its beauty or for recreation such as a beach that is good for surfing.

Living Organisms

Living plants, animals, fungus and micro-organisms. People need organisms for food, medicine and other purposes such as gastrointestinal microbiota that are necessary for human life. People may also feel a connection with living organisms that improves quality of life such as the happiness gained from walking in a forest or caring for a pet.


Living organisms do not survive independently but depend on each other in countless and complex ways. These systems of survival are known as ecosystems.


The sunlight that warms the planet to a suitable temperature for life. Sunlight is important to the health of ecosystems and is an extremely abundant form of energy.


Weather such as wind and rain have value to people. For example, wind is a source of energy and rain waters plants.


Trees are important to ecosystems and are an abundant source of renewable materials such as wood, paper and cloth.


Minerals such as sulfur, salt, quartz, graphite, granite and potash that are mined and used as materials for the production of goods.


Rocks such as limestone and related resources such as gravel and sand.


Precious gemstones such as diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire and semiprecious gemstones such as aquamarine, garnet, jade, opal and turquoise.


Metals such as gold, platinum, palladium, silver, copper, aluminum, nickel and iron.

Fossil Fuel

Fuels deposited with a natural process involving the decomposition of organisms. This is a non-renewable resource as such deposits are ancient and do not replenish. The burning of fossil fuels commonly produces pollution such as carbon dioxide.

Rare Earths

A collection of 17 elements that aren't necessarily rare in the Earth's crust but are difficult to mine because they seldom occur in concentrated deposits. The 17 rare earth elements are cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium, lanthanum, lutetium, neodymium, praseodymium, promethium, samarium, scandium, terbium, thulium, terbium and yttrium.
Overview: Natural Resources
DefinitionValue that exists naturally without being created by people.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about goods.
Brown Goods
Capital Goods
Club Goods
Common Goods
Common Resources
Complementary Goods
Consumer Durables
Consumer Discretionary
Consumer Goods
Consumer Staples
Digital Goods
Consumer Products
Durable Goods
Economic Goods
Experience Goods
Final Goods
Fashion Goods
Goods & Services
Finished Goods
Inferior Good
Intangible Goods
Information Good
Luxury Goods
Merit Good
Knowledge Product
Public Goods
Search Good
Social Goods
Natural Resources
Soft Goods
Necessity Goods
Substitute Good
Perfect Substitute
Superior Goods
Unsought Goods
Sporting Goods
Veblen Goods
White Goods
Virtual Goods
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