What are the Main Natural Resources in Oklahoma?

what are the main natural resources in oklahoma

Oklahoma, the 20th most populous state in the United States, is blessed with abundant natural resources that have contributed to its economy and elevated its status as a leading producer of various commodities. From energy to agriculture, mineral resources to forests, Oklahoma has it all. In this article, we will explore the main natural resources that Oklahoma boasts and their significance to the state and the country at large.

Key Takeaways

  • Oklahoma has significant energy resources such as oil, natural gas, and renewable energy sources like wind energy.
  • The state has a rich agricultural sector, with crops, livestock, and irrigation systems that contribute to its economy.
  • Water resources in Oklahoma, such as rivers, lakes, and aquifers, are vital for agriculture, industry, and public use.
  • Oklahoma has diverse mineral resources, such as limestone, gypsum, and coal, that play a significant role in various industries.
  • The state’s wildlife and biodiversity are essential for its ecosystems, protected areas, and conservation efforts.
  • Forests in Oklahoma provide timber, support the economy, and contribute to environmental health.
  • Oklahoma has significant potential for wind energy, contributing to the state’s renewable energy targets.
  • The oil and gas industry is crucial to Oklahoma’s economy, providing jobs, revenue, and energy resources.
  • Efforts to conserve natural resources, protect wildlife, and promote sustainable practices are ongoing in Oklahoma.
  • Challenges such as climate change, water scarcity, and balancing economic growth with environmental preservation must be addressed for the future of Oklahoma’s natural resources.

Energy Resources in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is a leading producer of energy resources, with a thriving oil and gas industry and a strong focus on renewable energy sources.

Oil and Natural Gas

Oklahoma is one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas in the United States, accounting for around 5% of the nation’s oil production and 3% of its natural gas production. Its location at the crossroads of major pipelines and transportation networks makes it a strategic hub for energy distribution.

The oil and natural gas industry in Oklahoma has a significant impact on the state’s economy, providing jobs for thousands of workers and generating revenue for the government.

Renewable Energy

In addition to traditional fossil fuels, Oklahoma is also home to abundant renewable energy resources. The state has some of the best wind resources in the country, with wind farms producing over 30% of the state’s energy capacity.

Oklahoma is also investing in solar energy, with several large-scale solar projects under development. The state’s efforts towards renewable energy have put it on track to meet its goal of generating 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

Overall, Oklahoma’s energy resources are a vital part of the state’s economy and its efforts towards a more sustainable future.

Agricultural Resources in Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s rich soil and favorable climate make it a hub for diverse agricultural resources. The state’s fertile land supports a wide range of crops and livestock production, contributing significantly to the nation’s food supply.

Crops Livestock Irrigation Systems
Oklahoma is a leading producer of wheat, cotton, and peanuts. Other crops include corn, soybeans, sorghum, and alfalfa. Cattle and calves are the most valuable livestock product in Oklahoma, followed by broilers and milk. The state is also a significant producer of hogs, sheep, and goats. Oklahoma has extensive irrigation systems, including over 1.5 million irrigated acres. This helps farmers to cope with dry spells and to increase crop yields.

Oklahoma’s agricultural industry not only contributes to the state’s economy but also provides jobs and supports rural communities. It is essential to maintain sustainable farming practices to preserve the land and ensure the longevity of the agricultural industry in Oklahoma.

Water Resources in Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s water resources are essential to its economy, industry, and public use. The state is home to several rivers, including the Arkansas, the Canadian, and the Red, as well as numerous lakes and aquifers. The importance of these resources cannot be overstated, as they provide drinking water, irrigation for crops, habitat for wildlife, and support for various industries.

Oklahoma’s waterways are navigable, providing easy transport of goods and resources. The state’s ports and waterways play an important role in the transportation of agricultural and mineral products, as well as providing recreational opportunities. Additionally, Oklahoma’s water resources are a vital part of the state’s energy industry, as water is used in fracking and other extraction processes.

However, Oklahoma faces water scarcity issues, exacerbated by increasing temperatures and drought conditions due to climate change. The state is taking measures to address these challenges, such as promoting water conservation practices, investing in new technologies, and working with neighboring states to manage shared water resources.

In addition, Oklahoma is committed to protecting its water resources and preserving its natural habitats. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board oversees the management of the state’s water resources, while the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation works to protect and maintain the state’s diverse aquatic ecosystems and wildlife populations.

Overall, Oklahoma’s water resources are a critical component of its economy and environment, and the state is taking measures to ensure their protection and sustainability for future generations.

Mineral Resources in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is known for its diverse mineral resources that play a vital role in various industries. The Sooner State has numerous minerals, including limestone, gypsum, coal, sand, and gravel, ranked among the top producing states in the country.


Oklahoma’s abundant limestone reserves are indispensable in the construction industry. The mineral is a primary ingredient in the production of cement, as well as in the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, and buildings.

Uses of Limestone Quantity Mined in Oklahoma
Cement Production 3.1 million metric tons
Crushed Stone 14 million metric tons


Gypsum deposits are prevalent in Oklahoma and are key components in the manufacturing of wallboard, plaster of Paris, and other building products.

Uses of Gypsum Quantity Mined in Oklahoma
Wallboard Production 2.6 million metric tons
Cement Production 0.2 million metric tons


Oklahoma has extensive coal reserves, mainly located in the eastern part of the state. The mineral is primarily used in electricity generation, with additional applications in industrial and residential heating.

Uses of Coal Quantity Mined in Oklahoma
Electricity Generation 0.1 million metric tons
Industrial and Residential Heating 0.1 million metric tons

In conclusion, Oklahoma’s mineral resources play a critical role in its economy and various industries. The state’s extensive reserves of minerals such as limestone, gypsum, and coal are crucial in the manufacturing of cement, wallboard, and electricity generation.

Wildlife and Biodiversity in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is home to a diverse range of wildlife and ecosystems, with over 500 species of birds, 80 species of mammals, and 100 species of reptiles and amphibians. The state’s ecosystems range from the prairies and grasslands of the west to the forests and wetlands of the east.

Protected Areas

Oklahoma has several protected areas that are home to unique and endangered species. The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, located in southwestern Oklahoma, is home to bison, elk, deer, and other wildlife. The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, located in northeastern Oklahoma, is one of the largest remaining areas of tallgrass prairie in the world and is home to rare and endangered species.

Conservation Efforts

Efforts are underway in Oklahoma to protect and conserve the state’s wildlife and biodiversity. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation works to manage and protect game and non-game species, while organizations like the Nature Conservancy and the Oklahoma Audubon Society focus on habitat preservation and restoration.

The Importance of Biodiversity

Biodiversity plays a critical role in maintaining the health of Oklahoma’s ecosystems and supporting human livelihoods. Healthy ecosystems provide important services such as water purification, pollination, and climate regulation. The loss of biodiversity can cause disruptions to these services and threaten the sustainability of human activities.

“Biodiversity is the foundation of ecosystem services to which human well-being is intimately linked. No matter what our role in society, we depend on biodiversity in fundamental ways.”

– United Nations Environment Programme

Forest Resources in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is home to a diverse range of forest resources that play a vital role in the state’s economy and environment. The forests cover 24% of the state, and they provide timber for the lumber industry, recreational opportunities for visitors, and habitat for wildlife.

Timber Production

Oklahoma’s forests are a significant source of timber, with an estimated 606 million cubic feet of standing timber in the state. The timber industry is an essential component of the state’s economy, generating around $2 billion annually in economic impact and supporting over 11,000 jobs.

The most common trees in Oklahoma’s forests are pine and oak, with other species like hickory, sycamore, and cottonwood also present. Timber is harvested sustainably, with reforestation efforts carried out to ensure the long-term health of the forests.

Recreational Activities

Oklahoma’s forests provide a wide range of recreational opportunities for visitors, including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and wildlife watching. There are many state parks and wildlife management areas that offer access to the forests, along with several national forests.

The Ouachita National Forest covers over 1.8 million acres in Oklahoma and Arkansas and provides a variety of recreational activities. The forest has several trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as opportunities for camping, fishing, and hunting. The forest is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including black bears, deer, and elk.

Environmental Benefits

Oklahoma’s forests play an essential role in maintaining a healthy environment. They filter pollutants from the air and water, prevent soil erosion, and regulate the climate by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide.

The forests also provide vital habitat for wildlife, including endangered species like the red-cockaded woodpecker and the Indiana bat. Efforts are underway to protect and conserve Oklahoma’s forests to ensure they continue to provide these important environmental benefits for future generations.

Wind Energy in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is known for its vast energy resources, including oil and natural gas, but the state has also emerged as a leader in wind energy production. According to the American Wind Energy Association, Oklahoma ranked third in the nation for wind energy capacity in 2020.

The state’s unique geography, with its high, open plains and consistent winds, creates ideal conditions for wind energy generation. As a result, there are over 50 wind farms in Oklahoma, with more under development.

Wind Energy Potential

Oklahoma’s wind potential is immense, with estimates suggesting that the state’s wind resources could generate over three times its annual electricity consumption. The state’s largest wind farm, the 800 MW Wind Catcher project, is currently under construction and is expected to become the largest wind farm in the United States.

Wind energy has become an important economic driver for Oklahoma, with the industry supporting over 9,000 jobs and providing millions of dollars in tax revenue for communities across the state.

Renewable Energy Goals

Oklahoma has set ambitious renewable energy goals, with a target of generating 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Wind energy is expected to play a significant role in achieving this target, along with solar and other renewable sources.

In addition to the economic benefits of wind energy, it also has environmental advantages, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.


Despite its potential, the wind energy industry in Oklahoma faces challenges, such as fluctuations in energy demand and transmission grid constraints. There are also concerns about the impact of wind turbines on wildlife, particularly birds and bats.

However, ongoing research and development continue to improve the efficiency and sustainability of wind energy generation, and the industry looks set to continue its growth in Oklahoma and across the United States.

Oil and Gas Industry in Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s economy heavily relies on the oil and gas industry, which has been a significant contributor to the state’s economic growth and job creation. The state is one of the leading oil and gas producers in the U.S., with a production capacity of over 500 million barrels of oil and 11 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year.

The oil and gas industry in Oklahoma involves a complex process that includes exploration, drilling, production, transportation, and refining. The state has numerous oil and gas fields, including the Anadarko Basin, the Arkoma Basin, and the Permian Basin, which are known for their rich deposits of crude oil and natural gas.

Aside from crude oil and natural gas, the industry also produces natural gas liquids (NGLs) such as propane, butane, and ethane, which have diverse applications in industry, heating, and transportation.

Industry Sector Employment in Oklahoma (2019)
Oil and Gas Extraction 42,800
Petroleum Refineries 3,200
Pipeline Transportation 6,300

The oil and gas industry in Oklahoma supports thousands of jobs in various sectors, including extraction, transportation, refining, and distribution. The state’s strategic location and infrastructure make it an ideal hub for the shipment and distribution of oil and gas products to both domestic and international markets.

The Future of the Oil and Gas Industry in Oklahoma

Despite the increasing focus on renewable energy sources, the oil and gas industry is expected to remain a vital part of Oklahoma’s economy in the coming years. The industry has been adapting to new technologies and practices that improve efficiency, safety, and environmental sustainability.

Moreover, recent discoveries and advancements in the field have opened up new opportunities for oil and gas extraction in Oklahoma. For instance, the use of fracking technology has enabled the extraction of oil and gas from previously inaccessible shale formations, thereby increasing production capacities.

However, the industry also faces some challenges, such as fluctuating global prices, regulatory changes, and public concerns over environmental impacts. Therefore, the industry needs to continue to innovate and adapt to ensure its long-term sustainability and minimize negative effects on the environment.

A Call to Protect Oklahoma’s Natural Resources through Conservation Efforts

Oklahoma is home to a rich diversity of natural resources, including a variety of ecosystems, abundant energy resources, fertile agricultural land, and valuable mineral reserves. However, with increasing economic growth and climate change, it is essential to prioritize conservation efforts to protect these resources for future generations.

The Importance of Conservation Efforts

Conservation efforts are crucial to ensure the sustained availability of Oklahoma’s natural resources. These efforts involve the protection and wise use of land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources through sustainable practices, including responsible harvesting and land use. By prioritizing conservation, Oklahoma can promote economic growth while protecting and preserving its natural beauty and resources.

Conservation Initiatives in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has a variety of initiatives and organizations dedicated to conservation efforts. One such initiative is the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, which works to support soil and water conservation efforts across the state. Additionally, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation manages and protects wildlife resources, including habitat restoration and reintroduction programs for endangered species.

Protecting Water Resources

Water resources are vital to Oklahoma’s economy and ecology. Therefore, it is crucial to focus on protection and conservation efforts to ensure their availability for future generations. Conservation measures such as wastewater treatment, soil conservation, and water recycling can help to ensure that Oklahoma’s water resources remain sustainable.

Promoting Sustainable Agriculture

Agriculture is a significant contributor to Oklahoma’s economy, and sustainable practices can help to protect and preserve the state’s agricultural resources. Conservation measures such as implementing crop rotation strategies, reducing chemical fertilizer usage, and supporting local farmers’ markets can help promote sustainable agriculture in Oklahoma.

Encouraging Renewable Energy Sources

Oklahoma has significant potential for renewable energy, including wind and solar power. Encouraging the use of renewable energy sources can help to reduce Oklahoma’s dependence on non-renewable resources and protect the environment. By supporting the development of renewable energy infrastructure, Oklahoma can move towards a more sustainable energy future.


Conservation efforts are crucial for protecting Oklahoma’s natural resources and preserving them for future generations. By prioritizing conservation measures, including protecting water resources, promoting sustainable agriculture, and encouraging renewable energy sources, Oklahoma can maintain its economic growth and natural beauty while ensuring the sustainability of its resources.

Challenges and Future Outlook

Oklahoma’s natural resources face a number of challenges as the state strives for economic growth and environmental preservation. One major challenge is the threat of climate change, which can lead to extreme weather events, drought, and other disruptions to ecosystems. With water scarcity a growing concern, it is important to manage and protect the state’s water resources for the future.

Another challenge is balancing economic development with environmental protection. As industries such as oil and gas, agriculture, and mining continue to be major contributors to the state’s economy, it is crucial to find ways to mitigate their impact on the environment and promote sustainable practices.

Despite these challenges, there are promising opportunities for the future of Oklahoma’s natural resources. The state’s rich wind energy potential has already led to significant investments in renewable energy, contributing to the state’s goal of generating a quarter of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

Furthermore, conservation efforts are ongoing, with organizations and initiatives in place to protect wildlife, preserve ecosystems, and promote sustainable land use practices. By working together, Oklahoma can continue to make progress towards a future where its natural resources are protected, sustained, and celebrated.


In conclusion, Oklahoma boasts a wealth of natural resources that have played a significant role in the state’s economy and way of life. From the abundant energy resources, including oil, natural gas, and wind, to the nutrient-rich soil that enables successful agriculture, such as crops and livestock, Oklahoma’s resources have contributed to its enduring success.

Water and mineral resources, such as limestone and coal, have also been essential to Oklahoma’s development. The state’s diverse wildlife and biodiversity, as well as its forestry, provide additional opportunities for economic growth and enjoyment.

However, these resources also face numerous challenges, from climate change to water scarcity. It is crucial for the state to balance economic development with environmental preservation and to support ongoing conservation efforts that will protect these resources for future generations.

Looking Forward

Despite the challenges, there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of natural resources in Oklahoma. The state is committed to developing renewable energy sources such as wind power, and conservation initiatives are gaining momentum.

By continuing to prioritize sustainable practices and protecting natural resources, Oklahoma can ensure that its unique and valuable resources remain abundant and accessible for years to come.


Q: What are the Main Natural Resources in Oklahoma?

A: Oklahoma is blessed with abundant natural resources that play a vital role in the state’s economy and daily life. These resources include energy, agriculture, water, minerals, wildlife and biodiversity, forests, wind energy, and the oil and gas industry.

Q: What are the Energy Resources in Oklahoma?

A: Oklahoma is known for its rich energy resources, including oil, natural gas, and renewable energy sources. The state is a major producer of both oil and natural gas, contributing significantly to the nation’s energy supply. Oklahoma also has a thriving wind energy industry, capitalizing on its vast wind potential.

Q: What are the Agricultural Resources in Oklahoma?

A: Oklahoma’s fertile soil and favorable climate support a diverse range of agricultural resources. The state is known for its crops such as wheat, corn, cotton, and soybeans. Livestock production, including cattle and poultry, is also a significant part of the agricultural industry in Oklahoma. The state has implemented advanced irrigation systems to ensure efficient water usage in agriculture.

Q: What are the Water Resources in Oklahoma?

A: Water resources are essential in Oklahoma for agriculture, industry, and public use. The state is home to various rivers, lakes, and aquifers that supply water for irrigation, drinking, and recreational activities. These resources play a crucial role in supporting Oklahoma’s economy and maintaining the well-being of its residents.

Q: What are the Mineral Resources in Oklahoma?

A: Oklahoma is rich in mineral resources, including limestone, gypsum, and coal. These resources contribute to various industries such as construction, manufacturing, and energy production. The extraction and utilization of mineral resources in Oklahoma play a significant role in economic development.

Q: What is the Wildlife and Biodiversity like in Oklahoma?

A: Oklahoma’s diverse ecosystems support a wide range of wildlife and biodiversity. The state is home to various species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Additionally, Oklahoma has designated protected areas and conservation efforts to preserve its unique landscapes and promote biodiversity conservation.

Q: What are the Forest Resources in Oklahoma?

A: Forests in Oklahoma provide valuable resources such as timber and recreational opportunities. They also play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy environment, improving air and water quality, and providing habitats for wildlife. The state recognizes the importance of sustainable forest management to balance economic and environmental needs.

Q: How is Wind Energy in Oklahoma harnessed?

A: Oklahoma has significant wind energy potential, and the state has been actively harnessing wind power to meet its renewable energy goals. With abundant windy conditions, wind farms have been established across the state, generating clean and sustainable electricity for Oklahoma’s residents and industries.

Q: What is the Oil and Gas Industry like in Oklahoma?

A: The oil and gas industry is a crucial part of Oklahoma’s economy. The state is a major producer of oil and natural gas, contributing to the nation’s energy supply. The industry involves processes such as exploration, drilling, production, refining, and distribution, supporting jobs and economic growth in Oklahoma.

Q: What Conservation Efforts are there in Oklahoma?

A: Oklahoma is dedicated to preserving its natural resources and wildlife through various conservation initiatives and organizations. These efforts focus on protecting habitats, promoting sustainable practices, and raising awareness about the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship.

Q: What are the Challenges and Future Outlook for Natural Resources in Oklahoma?

A: Oklahoma’s natural resources face challenges such as climate change, water scarcity, and balancing economic growth with environmental preservation. However, the state is committed to finding solutions to these challenges and ensuring a sustainable future for its resources. Collaboration, innovation, and responsible management are key to securing the long-term outlook for Oklahoma’s natural resources.

Q: Is there a Conclusion?

A: In summary, Oklahoma possesses a wealth of natural resources that contribute to its economy and quality of life. From energy resources like oil and wind power to agricultural resources, water, minerals, wildlife, forests, and the oil and gas industry, these resources shape Oklahoma’s identity and support its growth. The state recognizes the importance of conservation efforts and sustainable practices to protect and manage these resources for future generations.

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