Components of Environment and it’s importance

Introduction of Environment

Components of environment: Every organism is affected by many outside influences.These influences include soil, air water, temperature , sunlight, wind  and many other things. These influences are commonly referred to as environmental conditions.

The total of all the environmental conditions acting upon and organism, a community or an object is known as environment.

There are many different environments on earth. The mountain environment of the Himalayas is very different from the environment of the Thar desert or the Delta sundarbans.

What is the environment or meaning of environment

In biology and ecology the environment is all of the natural materials and living things, including sunlight. Environment includes the living and nonliving things that an organism interact with or has an effect on it. Trees, plants and animals etc. come under the environment.

Today the only reason for life on Earth is possible with the environment. Everything that we are connect with in our daily life is present in the environment, nature has provided us our clean and pure environment it should always be our endeavour to keep it clean.

Major Components of environment:

Components of environment

Dimensions of environment

Environment has three dimensions

1)Physical environment: 

The physical environment comprises all the abiotic components of environment like the lithosphere, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere. All continents and islands make up the lithosphere; gases and water vapours in the air constitute the atmosphere and oceans , seas, rivers,lakes etc. Comprise the hydrosphere. All these components are abiotic but they support all forms of life on earth. The lithosphere provides the soil and materials; the atmosphere provides the the essential gases and is responsible for all weather phenomena and hydrosphere provides all water on the earth and is the source of all humidity present in air and all life forms.

2) biological environment:

The biological environment comprises the living beings like micro- organism, plants and animals including man. Among these plants are the most important because they produce all the matter that is used by micro-organism, plants themselves and animals including man.

3) social environment:

The social environment consists of man. He is placed at the top because he has the ability to alter the environment. He is the most intelligent of all the living beings of the environment. He has been able to change the face of earth by making building, bridges, agricultural farms, transport lines, machinery etc. it is that who cultivated the slope of mountains where agriculture was not possible. All these components of environment are interdependent. They are very much interlinked and are interacting all the time.

Four spheres of environment

Broadly we can divide the environment into four spheres: The atmosphere, The lithosphere, The hydrosphere and The biosphere.

1. Atmosphere

Atmosphere: This is the layer of gases that surround the Earth. It consists primarily of nitrogen (about 78%) and oxygen (about 21%), along with traces of other gases like carbon dioxide, water vapor, and noble gases. The atmosphere plays a crucial role in protecting life on Earth by absorbing harmful solar radiation, regulating temperature through the greenhouse effect and providing the air we breathe.

  1. The earth is a unique planet. Its capacity to support life makes it different from all other planets. The earth is surrounded by an envelope of air which is called the atmosphere.
  2. The atmosphere extends to about 1000 km from the surface of the earth. But 99% of the total mass of the atmosphere is found within 32 km.
  3. The atmosphere is held to the earth by the force of gravity and it is made up of a mixture of gas molecules. A molecule is the smallest particle of a substance in a free state. Gas molecule move randomly in all directions.

Usefulness of the atmosphere

  1. Atmosphere is very useful to living beings on the earth. In fact,atmosphere is one of the necessary components of the biosphere and without air life would not have been possible on our planet.
  2. The atmosphere acts as a sheet it around the earth and protects the Earth from cosmic rays.
  3. It also acts as a barrier protecting the earth from the meteors which can cause a lot of damage on the earth. Meteors entering the earth’s atmosphere appear as shooting stars in the night sky and get burnt before they can reach us. A large number of meteors have hit the moon and have left deep scars on the surface of the Moon as the moon does not have its atmosphere.
  4. Even radio communication on the earth are possible as the the upper layers of the atmosphere top sound waves from escaping into the space.4. All the weather phenomenon are possible because of the presence of atmosphere.

2. Lithosphere

Lithosphere: The lithosphere refers to the solid outer layer of the Earth. It includes the crust, which is made up of various types of rocks and minerals, as well as the uppermost part of the mantle. The lithosphere is the foundation for the landforms we see, such as mountains, valleys and plains. It also contains Earth’s mineral resources and is a dynamic layer shaped by tectonic processes like earthquakes and volcanoes.

  1. The solid crust of rocks forming the surface of the earth is called the lithosphere.
  2. The word ‘letho’ means rock or stone and sphere means domains so the term lithosphere can be described as ‘Rocksphere’.
  3. Lithosphere has an average thickness of about 100 kilometre. The average thickness is more in  the continents as compared to the ocean. We live on this hard outer shell of the earth.
  4. All visible landforms which include mountains, plateaus, planes etc. are parts of lithosphere.
  5. Lithosphere is very important to human being. People not only e build their houses on it, most of the food supply also comes from this sphere only. 

3. Hydrosphere

Hydrosphere: This component encompasses all of Earth’s water, including oceans, rivers, lakes, groundwater and even water vapor in the atmosphere. Water is vital for sustaining life, regulating temperature and facilitating various natural processes like erosion and precipitation. The hydrosphere is interconnected with other components of the environment, contributing to the water cycle and shaping landscapes through erosion and deposition.

  1. The hydrosphere is the the part of the Earth’s surface, covered with water. Rivers, lakes, seas and oceans from this sphere.
  2. More than 70% of the Earth surface is covered with water. Continents are like islands floating in the ocean.
  3. Water supports all forms of life on the earth and is very crucial for our survival. Besides, water has a moderating effect on climates of regions near coasts.
  4. Oceans provide us with food and minerals. Even in the sea bed, deposits of minerals, oil and gas are found.

4. Biosphere

Biosphere: The biosphere includes all living organisms on Earth, from microorganisms to plants, animals and humans. This component is incredibly diverse and complex, forming intricate ecosystems where organisms interact with each other and their environment. The biosphere plays a key role in nutrient cycling, energy flow and maintaining the balance of the environment. Human activities have a significant impact on the biosphere, affecting biodiversity, habitats and ecosystems.

  1. The three major parts of the earth, the land, the water and the air come in contact in a narrow zone. This narrow contact zone is called the biosphere. All living organism, plants and animals live in this zone.
  2. The biosphere has a huge variety of organism. They vary in size from  the smallest bacteria to  the largest of the animals such as The whales and the elephants. The plants also vary in size from fungus to the largest of the trees.
  3. The organism found in the biosphere are divided into the plant kingdom and The animal kingdom. Human beings are the most important occupants of the biosphere and are a part of the animal kingdom.
  4. Our Earth is the only planet in the solar system where atmospheric and living condition are suitable for life.

These components are not isolated entities; they interact and influence each other through various processes. For example, the atmosphere and hydrosphere interact in the water cycle, where water evaporates from bodies of water, forms clouds and eventually falls back to the surface as precipitation. The biosphere relies on the resources provided by the lithosphere, while human activities often affect all components through pollution, deforestation and more.

Understanding the interactions and interdependencies among these components is crucial for managing and protecting our environment and its delicate balance.

Biotic and Aboitic components of environment

Let us delve deeper into both the biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem:

(I) Biotic Component:

Biotic components are the living organisms within an ecosystem. These can be further classified into different groups:

1.Producers: These are usually plants and other photosynthetic organisms that can make their own food using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. They form the base of the food chain by converting energy from the sun into usable energy for other organisms.

2. Consumers: Consumers are those organisms which depend on other living organisms for their energy. They can be herbivores (plant eaters), carnivores (meat eaters), or omnivores (both plant and animal eaters).

3. Decomposers: Decomposers break down dead organisms and organic matter into simpler substances. They play an important role in nutrient recycling within ecosystems, as they release nutrients back into the soil for plant use.

4. Destroyer: These organisms feed on detritus, which is dead organic matter. They help break down larger pieces of organic matter into smaller particles that can be further decomposed.

5. Predator and Prey: The relationship between predators (organisms that hunt and kill other organisms) and prey (organisms that are hunted and killed) is another important aspect of biological interactions. It affects population dynamics and helps maintain balance within the ecosystem.

6. Symbiotic Relationships: Within the biotic component, organisms often form symbiotic relationships. These interactions can be mutualistic (beneficial for both organisms), parasitic (beneficial for one organism, harmful for the other) or commensalistic (beneficial for one organism, neutral for the other). These relationships can have profound impacts on the survival and reproduction of the organisms involved.

7. Competition: Biotic components also engage in competition for resources like food, water and shelter. This competition shapes population dynamics and can lead to adaptations that help organisms survive and reproduce in their environments.

8. Succession: Over time, ecosystems undergo changes in their biotic components through a process called ecological succession. Primary succession occurs in areas with no previous life, such as on bare rock after a volcanic eruption. Secondary succession happens in areas that have been disturbed but still retain some soil and biotic remnants. This process involves a series of changes in the types of organisms present and is influenced by both biotic and abiotic factors.

9. Biodiversity: Biotic components contribute to the biodiversity of an ecosystem. Biodiversity encompasses the variety of species, genetic diversity within species and the diversity of ecosystems themselves. High biodiversity enhances ecosystem stability, resilience and the potential for various ecosystem services

(II) Abiotic components:

Abiotic components refer to non-living factors that affect an ecosystem. These factors can be grouped into different categories:

1.Physical factors: These include elements such as temperature, humidity, light intensity and atmospheric pressure. These factors determine the climatic conditions of an area and greatly influence the types of organisms that thrive there.

2. Chemical Factors: Chemical factors include the composition of the soil and water, including nutrient levels, pH and the presence of various minerals. These factors affect the availability of nutrients to plants and other organisms.

3. Geological Factors: The underlying geological characteristics of an area, such as the type of rocks and soil, drainage, nutrient availability and overall habitat suitability can be affected.

4. Topographic factors: The physical features of the land, such as mountains, valleys and water bodies, play a role in determining local weather patterns, water flow and micro-habitats.

5. Edaphic Factors: These factors are related to the properties of the soil, such as its texture, structure and water-holding capacity. Different types of soil support different types of vegetation and thus affect the biological community.

6. Climate: Climate, determined by long-term patterns of temperature, precipitation, wind and other factors, has a significant impact on the distribution and abundance of biotic components. Different species have adapted to thrive in specific climatic conditions.

7. Hydrology: The movement and distribution of water in an ecosystem, influenced by precipitation, evaporation, and geological features, affect habitat availability and nutrient transport. Bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes and oceans, are part of the abiotic component and play crucial roles in supporting life.

8. Disturbances: Natural disturbances such as wildfires, hurricanes and floods are abiotic factors that can shape ecosystems by creating new opportunities for species to establish themselves or by resetting the successional process.

9. Pollution and Human Impact: Abiotic factors can be impacted by human activities. Pollution, deforestation, urbanization and other human-induced changes affect air and water quality, soil health and overall ecosystem functioning.

10. Seasonal Variability: Abiotic factors exhibit seasonal changes that influence the behaviors and life cycles of biotic components. Seasonal shifts in temperature, light and water availability affect the timing of reproduction, migration, and other critical life events.

Understanding the intricate relationships between these components is essential for understanding how ecosystems function, how they respond to changes and how they can be conserved and managed effectively.

Both biotic and abiotic components are interrelated and influence each other. For example, plants (organic) depend on the availability of nutrients and water in the soil (abiotic) for their growth. The interactions between these components shape the structure and dynamics of ecosystems.

Importance of environment

  1. Environment plays an important role in healthy living and the existence of life on planet Earth.
  2. Earth is our home for different living species and we all are dependent on the environment for food water and other needs.
  3. It is most important for every individual to save and protect our environment.
  4. Good and clean environment helps us to live better. It is an integral part of the earth.
  5. The environment not only keeps the climate balanced but all the things that are necessary for life are received by the environment itself.

How do we protect our environment

  • To control environment pollution it is most important way to prevent that plant more and more trees because trees provide us fresh and pure Air which is essential for our health.               
  • Plants consume carbon dioxide and provide us oxygen and maintain the balance of atmosphere.                               
  • Support environmentally sound policies that reduce energy development activities emphasize energy conservation and encourage the use of renewable resources.               
  •  We need to promote recycling of solid and hazardous waste.                                   
  • Avoid burning any waste material they increase the amount of carbon dioxide and cause great harm to the environment.
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