What Is Environment ? Write a Short Note On Environment And Ecology

What Is Environment ? Write a Short Note On Environment And Ecology

What is Environment and why do we now notice so much interest in Environmental Studies in recent years?

  • Environment is the sum total of all conditions and influences that affect the development and life of all organisms on earth.What Is Environment ? Write a Short Note On Environment And Ecology
  • The living organisms vary from the lowest micro-organisms such as bacteria, virus, fungus, etc. to the highest, including man.
  • Each organism has its own environment (physical and biological).
  • The word “environment” originates from “environ” which means things that surround.
  • As per definition of the Environment Protection Act, environment includes all the physical and biological surroundings and their interactions.
  •  The study of environment or rather environmental studies is a multi-disciplinary subject which needs knowledge interest from physical sciences (physics, chemistry, mathematics), biological sciences (botany, zoology, microbiology, biochemistry), social sciences, economics, sociology, education, geography) etc.
  • Obviously, environmental studies has a broad base, which requires integrated approach for dealing with the various aspects.

Environment and Ecology

ECOLOGY

  • The word “Ecology” was coined by a German biologist in 1869 and is derived from the Greek word, “Oikos” meaning“House”.
  • Ecology is the branch of science that deals with the study of interactions between living organisms and their physical environment.
  • Both are closely inter-related and they have continuous interaction so that any change in the environment has an effect on the living organisms and vice-versa.
  • Any unit of biosystem that includes all the organisms which function together (biotic community) in a given area where they interact with the physical environment is known as ecosystem.
  • The ecosystem is the functional unit in ecology as it consists of both the biotic community (living organisms) and the abiotic environment.
  • The latter has close interaction essential for maintenance of life processes.
  • The interaction is conducted by energy flow (solar energy) in the system and cycling of materials (natural cycles).

From the biological point of view, the ecosystem has the following constituents:

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  • Inorganic substances (carbon, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water, etc.) involved in natural cycles.
  • Organic compounds (proteins, carbohydrates, humic substances) etc.
  • Air, water and substrate environment including the climatic regime and other physical factors.
  • Producers, autotrophic (i.e., self-sustaining organisms) green plants that can manufacture food from simple inorganic substances.
  • Heterotrophic (i.e., that depend on others for nourishment) organisms, mainly bacteria, fungi and animals which live on other organisms or particulate organic matter.
  • Micro-consumers, decomposers, mainly bacteria, fungi which obtain their energy by breaking down dead tissues or by absorbing dissolved organic matter, extracted from plants or other organisms.
  • The decomposers release inorganic nutrients that are utilised by producers.
  • They also supply food for macro-consumers or heterotrophic organisms.
  • Bacteria, fungi (and animals) often excrete hormone-like substances that inhibit or stimulate other biotic components of the ecosystem.