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Environmental Studies Summary
Earth is the only planet known for supporting life. Despite the vastness of the earth, life exists
only in a very narrow zone of the earth called the biosphere.
Sun is the only source of energy that enables continuous interaction among various life forms.
This unit, being the first in the course, brings out the holistic meaning of the word ‘environment’.
In broad terms, the environment includes everything external to an organism that affects it, including physical as well as living factors.
The action and interaction of the physical and living factors make a system of relationships called an ecosystem. This unit will also focus on how we as living beings interact with other living and non-living components of the ecosystem.
The concept of sustainable development came into existence that explains the symbiotic relationship between human beings and the environment.
For centuries humans have considered the earth and environment as virtually unlimited
resources but subtle and gradual changes have altered our environment in many different
Special mention has been made of the human population within the changing scenario over the years, particularly since the industrial revolution.
We hope that this unit will give you a better understanding of the environment and its various components.
This unit would also enable you to use your intelligence and skills for managing our environment and keeping it healthy for future generations. This unit will further explain the multi-discipilinary nature and scope of environmental studies.
Unit 1 Our Environment:
This unit, being the first in the course, brings out the holistic meaning of the word ‘environment’. This unit will also focus on how we as living beings interact with other living and non-living components of the ecosystem.
For centuries humans have considered the earth and environment as an unlimited resource but subtle and gradual changes have altered our environment in many different ways.
The concept of sustainable development provides an alternative model of development that could balance between environment and development. This unit will also discuss the multidisciplinary nature and scope of environmental studies.
Unit 2 Ecosystems:
This unit deals with the structure and properties of the ecosystem, basic concepts of ecosystem functioning, and the factors controlling it.
It also deals with the development of the ecosystem. The unit will also familiarise you with interactions like competition, parasitism and mutualism that exist between living beings.
This unit will also focus on how we as living beings interact with other living and non-living components of the ecosystem and would also become aware that ecosystems are able to maintain homeostasis by active effort, resisting the tendencies toward disorder.
Unit 3 Major Ecosystems:
This unit discusses two broad categories namely terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and their types.
Major terrestrial ecosystems include forests, grasslands, and deserts while lakes, rivers, oceans, estuaries, and wetlands are collectively known as aquatic ecosystems.
Besides, you will study the importance of forests, grasslands and aquatic ecosystems.
We hope after studying this block, you will acquire an in-depth understanding of the physical components of the environment, the process related to them and their interactions with other components of the environment
1.2 Concept of Environment
Each and every living organism has a specific surrounding or medium with which it continuously interacts, derives its sustenance, and to which it is fully adapted.
This surrounding is the ‘natural environment’.
The word ‘natural environment’ brings to mind broad aspects of landscape, such as soil, water, desert, or mountains which can be more exactly described in terms of physical or abiotic influences such as differences in moisture, temperature, the texture of the soil, and air quality.
It also includes the biological or biotic influences in the form of microbes and animals.
Thus, the environment is defined as, “the sum total of living and non-living components; influences and events surrounding an organism”.
Let us begin by asking what is environment? Environment is derived from French word environ which means to encircle or surround while means auctioning, i.e., the environment is the interaction between organisms and nature.
For humans, there are several kinds of environment such as home environment, business environment, political environment and so on.
But we are going to discuss only the natural environment: air, water, land, plants, animals, and other organisms.
Any individual in nature interacts with its environment, influences it and in turn, is influenced by it. Thus the environment is the sum total of air, water, and land interrelationship among themselves and also with human beings, plants, animals, and other organisms.
The most significant attribute of the effect of the environment on the life of an organism is the interaction of environmental elements.
These abiotic and biotic factors are dynamic in nature and interact with each other in every moment of life.
No organism can live alone without interacting with other organisms, so each organism has other organisms as a part of its environment.
You must be aware that all animals are directly or indirectly dependent upon plants, basically the green plants that manufacture their own food.
Plants also depend on animals for a few things such as pollination of flowers and
dispersal of fruits and seeds.
Can you identify the environment of a carp fish in the pond? Its environment consists of abiotic components such as light, temperature, and water in which nutrients, oxygen, other gases, and organic matter are dissolved.
The biotic environment consists of microscopic organisms called planktons as well as aquatic plants and animals and decomposers.
The plants are of different kinds such as floating, submerged, and partly submerged plants, and trees growing around the edge of the pond.
The animals consist of insects, worms, mollusks, tadpoles, frogs, birds, and various kinds of fishes. The decomposers are the saprotrophs like bacteria and fungi.
|No. of Pages||63|
|PDF Size||13.7 MB|
|Category||Plant And Environment|
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