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Biosphere: The Zone of Life

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Biosphere: An Overview

IVSAT 2024

From single-celled organisms to large animals, there are several different types of life on earth. All life forms exist in the zone of life which is called the biosphere. The biosphere is the fourth sphere where land, air, and water interact with each other to support all life forms. The biosphere includes the ground and the air and is characterised as that region of the earth where organisms live.

Eduard Suess was the first person to coin the term biosphere. He added the word Bio (life) with a sphere (shape of the earth) to refer to the areas on earth with all life forms. The biosphere is a narrow zone on the earth's surface where land, water, and air combine to sustain life. Life can only occur in this sphere.

The Biosphere

The Biosphere

What is the Biosphere?

The biosphere is the zone where the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, and the atmosphere interact. The biosphere is defined as an area that contains all living organisms and the products of their activities. As a result, it plays a critical role in the maintenance of ecosystems. It is also known as the ecosphere and is the sum of all ecosystems.

The biosphere can also be termed the zone of life on Earth. The biosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere are combined into a system to form the Ecosphere. Life forms in every part of the earth's biosphere even in the deepest trench (Mariana Trench). From polar ice caps to the equator, it features some form of life. Our biosphere is divided into several biomes. It is a large area inhabited by a community of plants and animals. For example, forest or tundra.

Components of Biosphere

From the highest mountains to the deepest ocean trenches, from the hottest deserts to the thickest jungles, life exists everywhere. The components of air, soil, water, and rocks are all parts of the biosphere.

The biosphere includes dead organic matter and all living organisms. The lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere all are included in the biosphere.

  • Lithosphere - It includes rocks and soil on earth.

  • Atmosphere - It includes all the gases that surround us. Carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen are important gases in the atmosphere. It is made up of several different layers.

  • Hydrosphere - It includes all the water on the earth in all forms. All living organisms need air, water, land, energy, and favourable temperature to survive on earth.

Biosphere Resources

There are different resources in the biosphere, that is Biotic and Abiotic Resources. All forms of life depend on these resources to sustain their life which include food, water, sunlight, land, and shelter. Biotic resources are living whereas abiotics are non-living. For example, plants and animals are biotic resources whereas rocks and sunlight are abiotic resources.

The biosphere is like a thin blanket of the Earth’s surface that supports life, reaching from a few kilometres into the atmosphere to deep-sea trenches. These resources have different impacts on the environment.

Importance of Biosphere

The biosphere is the interconnection between a healthy life and the interactions of living organisms. Even a minor change in the biosphere can cause a large impact on the lives of living organisms.

The biosphere promotes the life of the earth by adapting to various environmental changes, favourable climatic conditions, and a source of energy as food is the main importance of the biosphere.

To sustain life on earth, the biosphere also helps recycle nutrients like oxygen and nitrogen. The biosphere also provides food and raw material to different plants, animals, and human beings.

Features of Biosphere

The biosphere provides the ecosystem that is needed for the survival of organisms. It plays an important role in supporting life on the planet earth. It is a crucial element in climate regulation. Adaptation to the climate of the biosphere is expected for living organisms. The biosphere is the only source of food on Earth.

Safe areas for protecting plant and animal kingdoms are known as biosphere reserves. It also helps to protect and restore the tradition of tribals in the region. They preserve the biodiversity of a region. It covers all types of life as well as biomes.

The biosphere acts as the life support system of the earth, helping in the control of atmospheric composition, soil health, and the water cycle. It is the indicator of the contribution of a biome. The little change in the biosphere can cause a large impact on the lives of living organisms. It also helps in recycling nutrients, provides food and raw material, and promotes life on the earth. Adaptation to the biosphere can uphold life on earth.

Biosphere Examples

The biosphere, which includes the land and the air, is the region where organisms live. It is defined as the area where life exists on, above, and below the Earth’s surface. It is also known as the ecosphere.

It is the natural habitat of all living organisms. It is made up of the lithosphere, a lower portion of the atmosphere, and the hydrosphere.

It also provides resources to the humans through which man has evolved and changed the physical world as per the needs. For example, the soil becomes the basis for agriculture, and the river gives us water. It is important for the existence of living organisms.

The biosphere is the ecological system as a whole. It comprises all forms of life on Earth and all habitats capable of sustaining life. The biosphere also consists of biomes that have different climates, adaptations, vegetation, and wildlife. Photosynthesis is the main source of energy for ecosystem processes.

Conclusion

The biosphere is the narrow zone on the surface of the earth where land, water, and air interact to sustain life. Biotic and abiotic resources are the types of the biosphere. The Biosphere is divided into areas known as Biomes. Conservation by maintaining balance among elements of the biosphere is important. This can be achieved by various means like the concept of Biodiversity Conservation, the establishment of national parks, environmental impact assessment, afforestation, and adoption of SDGs.

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FAQs on Biosphere: The Zone of Life

1. What are the types of the biosphere?

The three components of the biosphere are the lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere. All forms of life exist in these components of the biosphere. The lithosphere is the surface of the earth where soil, rocks, and sand are found. The atmosphere is the zone of all gases that surround us. It is the layer of gases surrounding the earth. Earth's atmosphere is composed of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other gases. The hydrosphere is the total available water on earth in all forms.

2. What are the examples of biospheres?

The natural biosphere of the earth in which we live is called Biosphere. 

  • But to human curiosity, scientists have built an artificial biosphere known as Biosphere. 

  • Biosphere 2 is a man-made laboratory in Oracle, Arizona. This was built from 1991 to 1994. 

  • The main objective was to study the relevant information on different factors. In terms of structure, it was like a large greenhouse. Different groups try to live there and work on the project. The biosphere 2 projects failed within 4 years.

3. What are biosphere reserves?

It is the protected area for the conservation of some specific plants and animals recognized by UNESCO. There are 18 biosphere reserves in India and 12 are parts of UNESCO. The plan is to promote management, research, and education in ecosystem conservation. It is a larger protected area meant for the conservation of various flora and fauna species and the culture of that area. It may consist of National Parks and Sanctuaries. It consists of three zones — The core zone, Buffer zone, and free zone.

4. How does the biosphere affect humans?

Human beings play a crucial role in sustaining the energy flow of the biosphere. Also, on the other hand, people often stifle the flow of the biosphere. When forests are being cut down by people or the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil, then the level of oxygen drops in the atmosphere which results in rising in the level of carbon dioxide. Therefore, the increase in the level of carbon dioxide may cause global warming and hence have a negative effect on the biosphere.


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