Our Environment

The natural environment is inclusive of all the living and the non – living things that occur naturally. The term environment covers the interaction of all the living species, climate, weather and natural resources. All of these components have an impact on human survival and economic activities. Environment is responsible for nourishing the life that exists on the face of earth.

The environment has a vital role to play in the existence of all the life form on this planet. The word environment finds its origin in the French Word environ, which means “surrounding”. The concept of natural environment can be classified into two significant components –

a. The ecological units as a whole which functions as natural system and is not intervened by the human civilization. It is inclusive of all the vegetation, micro – organisms, rocks, soil, atmosphere etc. which occurs within their boundaries.

b. All the available natural resources and physical phenomena that does not have a clear and limited boundary. For instance air, water, radiation, climate, etc and everything that does not find its origin in the actions of human civilization.

Importance of Environment

As we all know, environment is the key for the existence of all and any life forms on Earth. However, factors like global warming, pollution, increasing number of industries have bought in environmental changes. There is a need to conserve the environment but for doing it first we need to understand why it is important.

  • Water – Water, which covers the largest portions of the Earth, is the essential medium for all the reactions and physiological processes of the body. If water gets contaminated with waste and toxins or micro – organisms which cause diseases, then it will be a great risk drinking the same.

  • Soil – Another important component is soil which supports the growth of all the vegetation. It is also considered a vital source for metals, several chemicals etc. Thus, it becomes important to conserve the soil for a better living.

  • Plants – Plants and trees – providers of oxygen without which neither animals nor humans can survive. They are the ones which can help in reducing the global warming component, CO2, from the environment and provide a clean environment. With the destruction of the environment around us, the plants are being destroyed too and immediate steps are necessary for their conservation.

  • Food, shelter and clothing – The daily needs of food and shelter, which are very basic for all the animals and humans, are derived from the environment around us. With the destruction of the environment, we are also destroying the source of all our basic needs.

  • Ecosystems and its Types

    Ecosystem is the term used for a natural unit which includes all the plants, animals and micro – organisms in a particular area. All the living factors of the ecosystem function together with the non – living (physical) factors of the environment. The basic idea which acts as the center of the concept of ecosystem is that the living organisms are engaged in interrelated with all the other elements of the environment. The term ecosystem is also applicable to the human made environment, like human ecosystem or human – influenced ecosystems.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
    There are mainly two types of ecosystems – natural ecosystem and artificial ecosystem. The natural ecosystem can be segregated into “biomes”. The three major types are discussed below:

  • Aquatic Biomes – The aquatic biomes are the ones that are related to the water bodies like oceans, rivers, seas, lakes, ponds etc. The aquatic biome is further divided into –

  • a. Pond Ecosystem – The pond ecosystems are small and consist of amphibians and insects. Fishes are also found in this type of ecosystem.

    b. River Ecosystem – This kind of ecosystem include in themselves fish, marine plants, along with amphibians and insects. The birds that hunt and survive on the food available in the water are also a part of this ecosystem.

    c. Shallow water Ecosystem – The components of this kind of ecosystem is small fish and corals.

    d. Deepwater Ecosystem – this kind of ecosystem can be found in the bottom of seas and oceans and are occupied by large sea creatures like whales and sharks.

  • Terrestrial Biomes – Terrestrial ecosystems include lands with forest, deserts, tundras, coasts etc. The division of this ecosystem is as follows:

  • a. Rainforests – The rainforest ecosystems are very densely populated due to the large variety of organisms living in it.

    b. Tundra – It is a simple ecosystem as due to the harsh and cold conditions not many life forms can survive here.

    c. Deserts – The deserts are the exact opposite of the Tundra ecosystem. The temperature here is very high and vegetation is scarce.

    d. Forests – There exist various types of forests around the globe, like deciduous or coniferous forests. Forests are a complex ecosystem supporting a variety of life forms.

  • Lentic Biomes – This type of ecosystem is known for supporting both aquatic and terrestrial life forms for instance, swamps.

  •         Artificial ecosystem – It is the artificial environment that has been created and maintained by man such as garden, aquarium etc. 

    Structure of Ecosystem

    The structure of ecosystem is the description of the organisms and physical features of the environment. This also includes the quantity and distribution of energy in the environment. It can be divided into – 

  • Abiotic Component – The abiotic component encompasses the inorganic elements and compound like air, water, calcium carbonates etc. which are the by – products of organic activities.

  • Biotic Component – The biotic components take into consideration all the living organisms present in an ecosystem.

  • Summary

  • The natural environment is inclusive of all the living and the non – living things that occur naturally.

  • Environment is very crucial for the existence of the living life forms and thus, needs to be conserved.

  • Ecosystem is the term used for a natural unit which includes all the plants, animals and micro – organisms in a particular area.

  • There are mainly two types of ecosystems – natural ecosystem and artificial ecosystem.

  • There are two components of the ecosystem – biotic and abiotic.