Resources Science ›› 2021, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (11): 2203-2214.doi: 10.18402/resci.2021.11.05

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A review of the classification of natural resources

WANG Xiaoqing1,2(), PU Lijie1,2,3()   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Ocean Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Coastal Zone Exploitation and Protection, Ministry of Natural Resources, Nanjing 210023, China
    3. Nanjing Institute of Technology, Nanjing 211167, China
  • Received:2021-04-28 Revised:2021-09-28 Online:2021-11-25 Published:2022-01-27
  • Contact: PU Lijie


The scientific classification of natural resources is the basis and key to realizing the modern management of natural resources in China. Our study was based on the review of a large amount of literature, and we analyzed the research progress, existing problems, and challenges of China’s natural resources classification system. We also put forward implications and recommendations for a new classification system of natural resources in China on the basis of summarizing the experience of natural resources classification internationally. The results show that currently there are many kinds of classification systems of natural resources in China and the standards are not uniform. The multi-dimensional natural resource classification led to the problem of crossover and duplication, and the original classification system could not meet the development needs of achieving unified natural resource management. The paper proposed that the construction of the new classification system should be based on the concept of “integrated management of mountains, water, forests, fields, lakes and grasses”, with the goal of achieving the unified and modernized management of natural resources, and following the principles of systematic, uniformity and comprehensiveness. Finally, we proposed a process and framework for the construction of the new classification system. Our research can provide a scientific reference for building a natural resource classification system for unified management.

Key words: natural resources, unified management, classification system, classification standard, comparison, review