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SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES: At the end of this lesson, students should be able to;

  1. Define conservation
  2. Enumerate reasons for conservation of natural resources
  3. State ways of ensuring conservation of natural resources
  4. List the agencies responsible for conservation
  5. Discuss problems/difficulties associated with conservation
  6. Describe the benefits of conservation.

Meaning of Conservation: Conservation is defined as the planned or controlled exploitation or judicious use of natural resources to ensure their continued availability and to preserve the original nature of the environment. In other words, conservation is the protection of natural resources from loss or wastage through rational use to ensure their availability at all times.

Reasons or Need for Conservation:

Conservation of natural resources is essential because;

  1. It ensures the availability of natural resources at all times. For instance, conservation preserve plants (trees) of the forest which serve as raw materials for paper industries, pharmaceutical industries. etc.
  2. It prevents wastage of  resources like water, fossil fuels, etc
  3. Conservation reduces rapid depletion of biodiversity and ensures a stable and balanced ecosystem
  4. It provides natural scenes for tourism (aesthetic values) and outdoor recreational activities like hiking, skiing, etc.
  5. It also prevents the extinction of plants and animal species.

Ways of ensuring conservation of natural resources:

  1. Making of conservation laws, edicts or decrees: Government should enact laws, edicts or decrees to regulate the felling up trees, hunting or exploitation of endangered species and mineral resources.
  2. Public enlightenment: The public should be enlightened/educated on the need to conserve natural resources and the consequences of exhaustion of resources.
  3. Establishment of agencies for conservation: Agencies in charge of conservation should be set up to ensure that people obey conservation laws. Some international conservation agencies are as follows;
  1. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  2. The World Land Trus (WLT)
  3. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  4. International Whaling Commission (IWC)

Some local conservation agencies are as follows;

  1. The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF)
  2. Federal Environmental protection Agency (FEPA)
  3. Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (FMANR)
  4. River Basin Authority (RBA)
  5. River Basin Development Authority (RBDA)
  6. State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)
  7. National Wildlife Conservation Society (NWCS)
  1. Establishment of game reserves or national parks: Game reserves or national parks are established for the protection of wildlife especially the endangered species and for recreational and scientific purpose. Some game reserves in Nigeria are;
  1. Tankari game reserve in Bauchi State
  2. Borgu game reserve in Niger State
  3. Old Oyo National Park in Oyo State, etc.
  1. By educating farmers on the best agricultural and farming practices such as mixed cropping, crop rotation and proper use of fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals.

Methods of conserving some Natural Resources and Benefits

Methods/Ways of conserving soil/land

  1. Irrigating the soil to keep them moist especially during the dry season so that plants/crops can be planted all year round.
  2. By enacting land use acts/laws against improper use of land.
  3. By planting grasses and legumes to prevent soil erosion
  4. By avoiding overgrazing by animals
  5. By avoiding excessive use of agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, etc.


Benefits of conserving soil

  1. Soil conservation increases soil fertility thus providing nutrients to plants
  2. It helps to prevent desertification or desert encroachment
  3. It provides spaces for agricultural activities
  4. Soil conservation prevents soil erosion
  5. It provides sources of water (reservoir) for soil organisms

Methods of conserving forest

  1. By avoiding deforestation and encouraging afforestation
  2. By enacting laws against illegal acts such as poaching, deforestation and other human activities that destroy the forest 
  3. By preventing bush burning or careless forest fire
  4. By establishing forest reserves to preserve forest trees. Examples of forest reserve are Shasha forest reserve in Ogun State, Zamfara forest reserve in Zamfara State, Olomu forest reserve in Kwara State, etc.
  5. By recycling of paper and other forest products

Benefits of forest conservation

  1. Forest conservation helps to control desertification
  2. It ensures that timbers and other forest products are always available
  3. It provides habitats for both plants and animals
  4. It also helps to check erosions

Methods of conserving water

Water can be conserved by

  1. Avoiding indiscriminate dumping of sewage/refuse inside water bodies to prevent pollution
  2. Checking water pipes and taps regularly and repairing them in case of damage to reduce water wastage.
  3. By treating used water in water treatment plant to ensure their availability at all times
  4. Rain waters should be channeled into tanks, reservoirs (well) to conserve water
  5. Laws should be promulgated against pollution of water bodies and agencies should be set up to ensure that laws are obeyed
  6. The general public should be enlightened on the dangers of water pollution.


Benefits of water conservation

  1. Water conservation provides water for agricultural purposes such as irrigation
  2. It provides habitat for some living organisms such as crabs, fishes etc
  3. It provides water for domestic purposes – bathing, cooking, washing
  4. Conservation of water provides scene for recreational activities such as swimming for fun
  5. Conservation of water also helps to prevent flooding/water erosion.

Problems/Difficulties Encountered in Conservation

Some of the problems encountered in conservation include;

  1. Lack of funds (economic problem) in maintaining game reserves and for (appropriate) payment of officers
  2. Ignorance and lack of education by the people of the country on the need to conserve resources. For instance, farmers are not aware of the dangers of bush burning
  3. Increase in the number of industries (industrialization) has increased pollution of the environment
  4. Problems of poaching and pilfering has also made conservation of wildlife difficult.
  5. Over population brings about shortage of resources such as water, food, energy etc.
  6. Poor agricultural practices like overgrazing, continuous cropping, etc pose threats to soil and fisheries conservation.
  7. Natural disaster such as earthquakes and flooding is also a problem in conservation.


Students should answer the following questions,

  1. Define the term “Conservation”
  2. State three reasons/importance of conservation
  3. Briefly explain two ways each of conserving forest and water
  4. Suggest four ways of ensuring conservation of natural resources
  5. List three agencies concerned with conservation of natural resources
  6. State four problem encountered in conservation


  1. Name four game reserves in Nigeria and their locations
  2. What is poaching?
  3. a. Explain the term “adaptation”(b) Explain two ways by which the following organisms adapt to their environments
  1. Hydrophytes  (ii)  Xerophytes
  1.  Briefly explain the following;
  1. Shifting cultivation (b) Mixed cropping (c) Mixed  farming
  1. Draw and label the life cycle of grasshopper.



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