Department of Earth Sciences

Popular Scientific Presentation

Natural resources are materials that are found in, on and around our planet and which human beings have used to serve their societies. There are many types of natural resources, which can be classified by their geological or chemical origins (such as biotic or abiotic), or by their use (such as mineral and energy resources, or soil resources, or biological resources). Natural resources can also be categorized according to their renewability. Non-renewable resources either form slowly or not at all in the natural environment, thus making them subject to depletion over time. Minerals and fossil fuels are the most common resource included in this category. Renewable resources such as food and forest products can be replenished naturally, but are susceptible to depletion by over-exploitation if the rate of consumption exceeds the rate of replenishment/recovery. The concept of ecosystem services includes renewable natural resources, but this broader concept also includes regulating services (water quality maintenance, climate regulation, etc.) and cultural services (recreational values, etc.) generated by the environment.

Our Global Energy Systems group (GES) is engaged in teaching and research related to large scale energy systems. Fossil fuels (including controversial shale gas) currently make up over 80% of the worlds energy supply and their future availability is important for society. Possibilities for energy transitions towards renewable energy sources, such as wind power or biofuels, are also studied. GES works with a system approach to modelling of energy systems by including not only energy resources but also other natural resources, such as metals, lithium or phosphorous, necessary for the construction and manufacturing of energy technologies. Multi/transdisciplinary issues like energy security of the energy-economy-ecology nexus are also explored.

Our group Ecosystem Services, Recreational Fisheries and Sustainable Seafood focuses on the different interactions between humans and nature, particularly in coastal areas. We work with management and governance of recreational fisheries, the role of civil society in maintaining coastal ecosystems and fish stocks, sustainable seafood and its certification, and the concept of ecosystem services as a tool for better environmental decision-making.

Sustainable development of natural resources and ecosystem services is a complex concept that requires interaction and efficient communication between natural science, technology, humanities and social science and in this sense NRHU is unique at Uppsala University. Interrelated research projects include the risk assessment and remediation of contaminated sediments that exist along Sweden coasts, evaluation of market-based instruments such as eco-certification schemes for food commodities, investigation of recreational anglers’ attitudes towards different management options for recreational fisheries, and the transition from fossil fuels to renewable supplies of energy. 

  • Fossil energi i världen

  • Naturresurser och hållbara energitekniker

  • Problem och möjligheter kring energiomställningar