This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for 1.6.
Maps can have four different types of natural resources: forests, fertile land, oil, and ore. Natural resource distribution can be seen on the map by using the natural resource overlay. Each resource is assigned a color. Forests are green, fertile land is yellow, oil is black, and ores are blue. The darker the shade of color, the better that piece of land is for extracting the associated resource. Statistics about natural resource availability and use can also be seen from this overlay.
Natural resource buildings can change not only the tax revenue and industrial supply chain of your city, but also the entire look and feeling of specialized areas. Exploitation of natural resources and specialized industry is necessary if you wish to conduct more of the resource supply chain within your city.
New buildings will begin to appear in the affected industrial zone, changing its appearance. For example, industrial zones with oil industry specialization will have oil pumps and petroleum processing facilities, and zones with the forestry specialization will have forest and saw mills.
A specialized zone does not necessarily need to be created over a supply of that natural resource. If created over an area without the associated resource, the zone will be populated with only processing facilities and require the raw materials to be brought in from elsewhere. Industrial specializations will yield more tax income from the specialized zones if there are relevant natural resources present.
Specialized industry lengthens the supply chain of goods in your city, which may be desirable if you wish to create more jobs, re-balance imports and exports, or otherwise take more control of the flow of freight through your city.
Each of the natural resources and specializations related to those has its own advantages and disadvantages. Specializations cannot be applied until the appropriate milestone has been reached.
|Resource type||Milestone||Renewable||Tax income||Pollution rate||Input requirements|
|Oil||Busy Town||No||+35%||+30%||+15% electricity|
|Ore||Boom Town||No||+20%||+20%||+10% electricity|
|Forest||Worthy Village||Yes||+10%|| No ground pollution
Substantial noise pollution
|Fertile land||Worthy Village||Yes||+10%|| Doesn't pollute ground,
turns all fresh water used into waste water
|+25% more water|
Note: The game manual gives the forestry pollution rate as "+7%", but this is not borne out by game-play.
Specialized buildings do not level up, regardless of their circumstances. Agriculture and forestry buildings have roughly similar employment statistics to level 1 generic industry, whereas oil and ore buildings are similar in this regard to moderately developed generic industry.
Forests are a renewable resource giving a modest increase in tax incomes. Forestry does not pollute the ground, but it is noisy (think sawmills).
The forest natural resource can be artificially created by planting trees in an area. These will be treated by the game as equivalent to natural forests. The forest industry is also renewable so it does not run out ever unlike oil and ore industries. There are special trucks for the forest industry that are log trucks and the factories look slightly different.
Forestry only provides jobs at low education levels.
Fertile land is a renewable resource that gives a modest increase in tax income without producing extra ground pollution. Instead, the agriculture Specialization will have an increased demand on the city's water supply.
Farming only provides jobs at low education levels.
Oil is a limited resource that will increase tax income significantly, but it also produces a lot more ground pollution and requires more electricity. Extracted oil can be used as fuel in oil power plants. The oil industry buildings are similar to the ones in real life. They comprise of a small and simple oil extractor and sometimes a small building.
The oil industry provides jobs at a variety of education levels.
Ore is a limited resource that produces more tax income and ground pollution, although not as much as oil industry. Ore industry requires more electricity than usual industry. Extracted ore can be used as fuel in coal power plants.
The ore industry provides jobs at a variety of education levels.
Depletion of resources
Forestry and farming are renewable resources, which will continue to produce raw materials indefinitely.
Oil and ore extraction however consumes the resource, eventually depleting it entirely. Once this occurs, the production buildings will complain of a lack of natural resources and eventually will become abandoned if not able to import said resources. If you don't remove the specialization from the zone, these buildings will be replaced with specialized secondary industry facilities. This can be quite a shock for your transportation system and supply chain, as a zone which previously supplied raw material will transform into one that needs to import it.
The game has a built-in mod "Unlimited Oil and Ore - oil and ore are not reduced from terrain", which prevents them from being depleted. It must be activated before the resource is gone, as it only halts depletion, and will not renew it. Note that this will disable Achievements, unless they are re-enabled by a mod from the workshop.