12. Resources of Tamil Nadu

geography study materials


  • The term ‘resources’ refers to the natural wealth available on the earth surface for the welfare of mankind.
  • The surrounding environment contains many natural elements like rocks and minerals on and under the surface of the earth.
  • Water is available in the form of lakes, rivers and seas.
  • Living organisms like plants and animals are also present.
  • These resources can be utilized for the betterment of a country’s economy.
  • Resources may be assessed on the basis of factors such as:
  • Types of resources Characteristics of resources
  • Resources have three main characteristics: utility, quantity (often in terms of availability), and consumption

Natural Resources

  • Natural resources are essential for our survival, to satisfy human wants and needs. Its may be classified in different ways.
  • On the basis of origin, resources may be divided into two: Biotic 

Biotic Resources

  • Biotic resources are those obtained from the biosphere.
  • Forests and their products, animals, rids and their products, fish and other marine organisms are examples of the biotic resources.
  • Minerals such as coal and petroleum are also included in this category because they are formed from the decayed organic matter.

Abiotic Resources

  • Abiotic resources comprise of non-living things.
  • Examples are land, water, air and minerals such s gold, iron, copper and silver.
  • On the basis of availability, resources are classified into two groups as Renewable and Non-renewable resources.

Renewable resources

  • Renewable resources are those which can be replenished or reproduced without getting depleted or exhausted.
  • Examples of these resources are light, heat and energy from the sun; wind energy; water from lakes, rivers and seas and the soils from the earth’s crust.

Non renewable resources

  • Non – renewable resources are those which are formed over very long geological periods and are certain to be exhausted in course of time;
  • Example:
  • Coal
  • Oil and other minerals.

Resources are finally divided on the basis of their  origin. These include:

  • Land resources Soil resources Mineral resources Water resources

Land Resources:

  • Land is a basic resource as it satisfies the day-to-day requirements of human beings and animals that are obtained from the land.
  • Human beings obtain their basic necessities of food by cultivating the land. Land is also used for a variety of purposes.
  • It is mainly used for construction activities of houses, industries, roads and railway lines.
  • Apart from this land is also under forests and grasslands.
  • Forest provides valuable timber while grasslands provide fodder for animals.
  •  As far as the land resources of Tamil Nadu is concerned, its land resources are classified into 9 land use types and are presented in the diagram given below. Among the districts of Tamil Nadu,
  • Erode holds the largest share (10%) of forests, krishnagiri (9.6%)
  • Dharmapuri (7.7%)
  • Thiruvannamalai (7.2%)
  • Vellore (7.1%)





Forest 21,10,703 16.2
Barren and unculturable land 5,03,255 3.9
Land put to non-agricultural uses 21,38,679 16.4
Culturable waste 3,68,661 2.8
Permanent pastures and other grazing lands 1,10,309 0.8
Misc. tree crops and groves not included in the net area sown 2,74,351 2.1
Current fallow 7,58,840 5.8
Other fallow lands 15,18,008 11.7
Net area sown 52,43,839 40.3
Geographical area 1,30,26,645 100.0


Soil Resources

  • Soil is the loose material which forms the upper most layer of the earth, consisting mainly of very small particles.
  • It is an essential element for the development of agriculture, as it provides essential minerals or nutrients for the growth of vegetation.
  • Soil forming processes are controlled by the factors such as parent rock, climate, relief, time factor, flora fauna and microorganisms present in the soil.

Soils of Tamil Nadu

  • The soils of Tamil Nadu may be grouped into five types.
  • They are classified according to their formation, size and colour. Their occurrence in the districts of Tamil Nadu is given below.

Types of Soil in Tamil Nadu and their distribution

Alluvial soils Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Thirunelveli and Kanyakumari
Regur or the black soils Coimbatore, Madurai, Virudhunagar, Thuthukudi and Thirunelveli
Red Loams Sivagangai, Ramanathapuram
Laterite soils Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur, Thanjavur, hill tops of western ghats and eastern ghats
Saline soils Predominantly in Vedaranyam, Coromandal Coast and for about 10 km in all the coastal districts of Tamilnadu


Forest Resources

  • Tamil Nadu’s wealth of flora and fauna lies in the hilly and forest regions.
  • Some of its major wildlife sanctuaries like Mudumalai and Anaimalai (Indira Gandhi wild life sanctuary)are situated on the hills of the Western Ghats, which have habitats for elephants, tigers, bison and a variety of monkeys and deer.
  • Among the 3,000 and more plant species found in Tamil Nadu, majority of them are found in the mixed deciduous forests.
  • One of the most noteworthy flowers is the kurinji of Kodaikanal hills which blooms once in 12 years.
  • The state has recognized it with special status.
  • Cinchona, a forest product, from which quinine-a drug for treating malaria is extracted.
  • Eucalyptus which grows abundantly in the Nilgiris is also used as medicine for curing cold and as pain reliever.
  • Medicinal herbs are commonly found on the Palani hills and Courtallam. Palmyrah trees are grown abundantly in Thirunelveli district, of the state are being regenerated and protected by the state Forest Department.
  • These forests not only provide for the large economy of the state but also to the local livelihood.
  • Vanamahotsava’ is celebrated in October every year to highlight the importance of wild life

ü World wildlife day – October 4 ü World Forest Day – March 21 ü World Water Day – March 22

Water Resources

  • Water resources comprising of surface water (rive and lakes), ground water, marine and coastal waters; support all living things including human beings.
  • Basically, man requires safe protected water supply for drinking, cooking, washing and bathing.
  • In the agricultural sector, the growth of plants and yield of crops are directly related to the quality and quantity of water available.
  • Underground water is also used for the purpose of irrigation and other utilities. All industries require water either for processing or for other utilities.

Water resources in Tamil Nadu

Water sources


Rivers 17
Lakes 15
Tanks 40319
Ponds 21205
Canals 2395
Reservoirs 71
Wells 1908695


  • Rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting rainwater from roof tops and directing it to an appropriate location where it is stored for ground water recharge. On an average, one spell of rain for two hours is enough to recharge 8,000 litres of water.

Animal Resources

  • Apart from foodgrains meat, poultry and dairy products are also considered as dietary components.
  • Animals which are domesticated yield wool, fur and skin that form the basic raw materials for specific clothing, shoes and other products.
  • The animal resources contribute a lot to the development of the economy where they are reared commercially


Livestock in Tamil Nadu


No of animals









Glossary National Park

  • A natural area designated to protect the ecological balance of one or more ecosystems for the present and the future generations is referred to as a National Park.

Mineral Resources

  • A mineral is a substance or compound of organic or inorganic origin found on the earth’s crust.
  • Every mineral has a definite composition and distinct physical characteristics. Most of the minerals are crystalline in nature and occur widely in rocks.Rocks contain one or more minerals.
  • Natural forms of minerals are called ores and minerals are processed from
  • The salt used in cooking and graphite in your lead pencil is a mineral.
  • The major mineral resources of Tamilnadu include lignite, vermiculite, garnet, zircon, graphite, limonite, rutile, monazite and magnesite.

Classification of Minerals

  • Minerals are classified into three categories.
  • They are
  • Metallic minerals
  • Non – Metallic Minerals Mineral fuels

Metallic Minerals of Tamil Nadu



Iron ore

Salem, Namakkal and Thiruvannamalai


Salem , Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Madurai and Mamandur


Salem, Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Vellore, Dhamapuri, Madurai and Villupuram


Salem, Namakkal, Thiruchirappalli and erode



Non – Metallic minerals of Tamil Nadu



Lime stone

Virudhunagar, Thuthukudi, Thirunelveli, Thiruchirappalli, Kanchipuram and Salem


Thiruchirappalli, Coimbatore and Ramanathapuram


Salem, Namakkal, Coimbatore and erode


Vellore, Cuddalore, Coimbatore, Salem and Thiruchirapalli


Chennai, Thuthukudi, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur

Mineral fuels of Tamil Nadu



Petroleum Thiruvarur (Panamgudi), Narimanam (Kaveri Delta Region)


  • With the help of an atlas, marks the distribution of iron, copper, bauxite, gold and lignite on an outline map of Tamil Nadu Energy resources
  • Resources from which energy can be obtained for heating and lighting are called energy resources.
  • The energy resources can be divided into two types.
  • They are:
  • Conventional Power Resources 
  • Non – Conventional Power Resources

Conventional Power Resources

  • Conventional source of energy are those which have been traditionally sued by mankind for a long time.
  • It usually included fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, oil as well as nuclear power.


The three major conventional energy sources are: 

  • Thermal Power Resources Hydel Power Resources Atomic Power Resources

Thermal Power Plants of Tamil Nadu

Name of the Plant


Types of Fuel

Capacity in MW

Neyveli Lignite Corporation




North Chennai Thermal Power Unit – I




Thuthukudi Thermal Power Plant





Mettur Thermal Power Station





Hydropower Energy

  • Hydro power has been with humanity for a long time. Energy in a rushing river is captured through a wheel as mechanical energy.
  • Originally, these water wheels powered grain mills, spinning a grindstone directly. On the whole Tamil Nadu.

Hydropower plants of Tamil Nadu

Hydro Power Plant



Kundah I to V



Mettu tunnel






Kodayar I and II



Sholaiyar I and II






Lower Mettur



Papanasam Hydro Electric power









Atomic Power Station

  • Atomic energy is the energy produced from the fusion of atoms.
  • It results from a nuclear reaction, a process in which two nuclei or nuclear particles collide, to produce electrical energy by nuclear reactors.
  • The first Atomic Power station of Tamil Nadu is located at Kalpakkam about 80 km south of Chennai.
  • It has a comprehensive nuclear power production, fuel reprocessing, and waste treatment facility that includes plutonium fuel fabrication for fast breeder reactors (FBRs).
  • It is also India’s first fully indigenously constructed nuclear power station.
  • It has two units which produce about 500MW of energy.
  • Another Nuclear Power station is currently under construction in Kudankulam of Thirunelveli district.
  • This station has four reactors which are expected to produce about 1,000 MW from each reactor.

Non-conventional Power Resources

  • Non-conventional Power Resources are known as renewable resources.
  • Sun is the biggest source of non-conventional energy. Energy is in the form of photons.
  • India receives abundant sunlight for about 250 – 300 days in a year.
  • Conversion of solar energy to electric energy and thermal energy takes place mainly by photovoltaic cells and through solar thermal

The non-conventional energy resources are:

  • Solar Energy Wind Energy
  • Tidal Wave Energy Geo – thermal Energy Bio – Fuel Energy Energy and bagasse
  • Excluding tidal were energy and geothermal energy, all other types have been harnessed in Tamil Nadu and their rate of utilization is discussed below.

Solar Energy

  • Solar power is generated from
  • This can be used as direct power with photovoltaic (PV) cells, or indirect with concentrating solar power (CSP), Sun’s energy is focused to boil water which is then used to generate power.
  • Dindugul, krishnagiri, Dharmapuri are the districts which extract energy from solar power units.

Wind Energy

  • Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of
  • It is generated using wind turbines to make electricity for wind mills and wind pumps for pumping water or drainage and used to propel ships.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Energy



Non-polluting source Noise pollution
Low cost of production Wind mills are very costly to setup
Safe and clean Disturbs radio and T.V. reception
Inexhaustible Diffused source, so gets wasted


Location and capacity of Wind Farms in Tamil Nadu

Aralvaimozhi pass (Muppandal area) Kanyakumari Thirunelveli Districts


Sengottah Pass (Kayathar area) Thirunelveli, Thuthukudi Districts


Palghat Pass (Kethanur area) Coimbatore

Coastal area near Chennai and Rameswaram in Ramanathapuram District and other areas (The ni, Palani areas) 450
Total 5208


Tidal Wave Energy

  • Energy generated from tides is called tidal energy.
  • Tidal energy can be harnessed by building dams at narrow openings of the sea. During high tide the energy of the tides is used to turn the turbines installed in the dam to produce electricity.
  • The first tidal energy station as built in France

Advantages of Tidal Energy

Disadvantages of Tidal Energy

Clean, eco – friendly and always availa ble


Located far away from cities and so costly to transport electricity
Cheap compared to other energy sources


Can be generated only during windy days.



Geo –thermal Energy

  • Geo-thermal power utilizes the heat in the interior of the earth for generation of power.
  • In areas where volcanoes exist, the rocks in contact with molten magma are quite hot.
  • When rain water seeps into these rocks, it gets converted into steam and gushes out as a geyser.
  • Hot springs may also occur in such areas. The steam generated can be used to generated power on a small scale.

Bio –fuel Energy


No of Plants

Sivakasi 2
Pudukottai 2
Tiruvanamallai 1
Dindigual 1
Theni 1
Thanjavur 1
Madurai 1
Virudunagar 1
Thiruvallur 1
Kanchipuram 1
Krishnagiri 1





Capacity MW

MRK Co-operative Sugar Mills Ltd Cuddalore 7.50
Cheyyar Co-operative Sugar Mills Thiruvannamalai 7.50
Dharani Sugars & Chemicals Ltd Thirunelveli 15.00
Rajashree Sugars & Chemicals Ltd Theni 12
Kothari Sugars & Chemicals Ltd Theni 12
Terry Energy Ltd Cuddalore 28.42
S.V. Sugar Mills Ltd Kancheepuram 45.00
Subramania Siva Co-operative Mills Ltd Dharmapuri 5
Terry Energy Ltd Thanjavur 18.68
EID Parry India Ltd Cuddalore 30
Sakthi sugar Mills Sivaganga 5.500
Arunachalam Sugar Mills Ltd Thiruvannamalai 19
Bannari Amman Sugars Ltd Erode 20
Auro energy Ltd Nagaipattinam 16
Sri Ambika Sugar Mills Cuddalore 40
Sakthi Sugar Mills Pvt Erode 32
Rajashree Sugars Chemicals Ltd Villupuram 22
EID Parry India Ltd Pudukottai 18
Kothari sugars and chemicals Ariyalur 22



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