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Why is Environment Important

Why is Environment Important

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Published by: Ashok Vardhan Reddy on Apr 17, 2011
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  • 1.1 1 Community and Ecological Succession
  • 1.3.2 Atmosphere
  • 1.3.3 Hydrosphere
  • 1.3.4 Lithosphere
  • 1.4.1 Different Types of Biomes
  • 1.4.2 Terrestrial Biomes
  • 1.4.3 Aquatic Zones
  • 1.6.1 Abiotic Components
  • 1.6.2 Biotic Components
  • 1.6.3 Trophic Levels \
  • 1.6.4 Food Chain
  • 1.6.5 Food Web
  • 1.6.6 Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification
  • 1.6.7 Pyramids
  • 1.7.1 Flow of Energy in an Ecosystem
  • 1.7.2 Laws of Thermodynamics
  • 1.8.1 Types of Nutrient Cycles
  • 1.8.2 aGaseous Cycles
  • 1.8.3 Sedimentary Cycle
  • 1.10.2 Feedback Mechanism
  • 1.10.3 Ecosystem Homeostasis
  • 1.12.2 Population Histograms
  • 1.12.3 Types of Histogram
  • 1.12.5 Future of Human Population: Where Are We today?
  • 1.13.1 Obligation to the Puture
  • 1.13.2 Responsibilities and Duties of a Citizen
  • 3.14 LET US SUM UP



1.1 1.2 1.3


What is Environment?
Concept of Environnlent

Divisions of Biosphere Atmosphere Hydrosphere Lithosphere


Biomes and Aquatic Life Zones
Different Types of Biomes Terrestrial Biollles Aquatic Zones

1.5 1.6

Ecosystem Components of Ecosystem
Abiotic Components Biotic Components Trophic Levels Food Chain Food Web Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification Pyramids

1.7 Energy in Ecosystem
Flow of Energy in an Ecosystem Laws of Thermodynamics


Matter in Ecosystem or Geochemical Cycles
Types of Nutrient Cycles Gaseous Cycles Sedimentary Cycle


Biotic Relations
Intraspecific Relations Interspecific Relations


1.10 Homeostasis
System Feedback Mechanism Ecosystem Homeostasis

1.1 1 Community and Ecological Succession
Succession in Terrestrial Community Succession in Aquatic Habitat General Characteristics of Succession Ecosystem and Human Intervention

1.12 Overview of Human Population
Population Characteristics Population Histograms Types of Histogram Populations of India Future of Human Populations: Where Are We Today?

1.13 Constitutional Obligations of a Citizen
Obligation to the Future Responsibilities and Duties of a Citizen

1.14 Let Us SumUp 1.15 Further Reading

Environmental Concerns

"This Planet has been delivered wholly assembled and in perfect working condition, and is intended for -fully automatic and troublefree operation-in orbit around its star, the &n. However, to ensure proper functioning all passenger are requested to familiarize themselves fully with the following instructions. Loss or even temporary misplacement of these instruction may result in calamity. Passenger who must proceed without the benefit of these rule are likely to cause considerable damage before they cnn learn the proper operating procedure to themselves. David R. Brower

1 .


Earth is the only planet, among the nine around the sun which supports life. Despite the vastness of earth, life exists only in a very thin layer enveloping the earth called biosphere. Sun is the only source of energy which enables conlinuous interaction among various life forms. This unit being the first in the course brings out the holistic meaning of the word 'environment' which in broad terms, includes everything external to an organism that affect it, including physical as well as living factors. Their action and interaction make a systeim of relationship called ecosystem. This unit also deals with structure and properties of ecosystem, basic concepts of ecosystem functioning and the factors controlling it. It also deals with the development of ecosystem. The unit kill familiarise you with interactions like competition, parasitism and mutualism that exist between living beings. This unit will focus also on how we as living beings interact with other living aid non living conlponents of the ecosystem. You will also become aware that ecosystems are able to maintain homeostasis by active effort, resisting the tendencies toward disorder.

For centuries (liumans have considered the earth and environment as virtually u~~lirnited subtle and gradual changes have altered our environment in may but different ways.
Special mention has been made of 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. We wish that this unit enables you to use your intelligence and skills to the best of your advantage for managing our environment and keeping it healthy for future generations.

After reading this unit you will be able to: explain the term environment biosphere, specie? and population, define and explain the basic concept of ecosystem, its structure, properties, hnction, development, control and stability in order to act positively towards the environment,

discuss that the flow of energy and cycling of material are central to the ecosystem functioning and indiscriminate intervention would lead to damage and disruption of the environment, discuss the environmental consequences of the current growth pattern of human population, and be aware of your duties and obligations towards environment.

Why is Environment Important?




Each and every living organism has a specific surrounding or medium with which it continuously interacts, from which it derives its susteilance and to which it is fully adapted. This surrounding is the 'natural en'VironmentY The . word 'natural environment' brings to mind broad aspects of landscape, such as soil, water, desert or mountains wllich can be more exactly described ill terms of physical influences such as differences in moisture, temperature, texture of soil, and biological influences. Tlius, environment is defined as, "the sum total of living and non-living components; influences and events surrounding an organism". Broadly the environinent comprises of abiotic (non-living) and biotic (living) components. (Table 1.1) Table 1.1: Components of Enviro~ltnent I Biotic components Abiotic Components Light Precipitation Humidity & Water Temperature Substrate Atmospheric gases Altitude Latitude . Seasonal changes Topography Plants Animals iilcluding humans, parasites and microorganisms Decomposers


Concept of Environment

No organism can live alone without interacting with other organisms so each organism has other organisms as a part of its environment. You must know that all animals are directly or indirectly dependent upon green plants. Plants also depend on animals for a few things such as pollination of flowers and dispersal of fruits and seeds. Each and everything with which you interact or which you need Tor your sustenance fonns your environment. Let us try to understand the concept of environment with an example, Consider (Fig.1.1). Can you identify the environment of a single carp Gs'h in the pond? abiotic components such as light, temperature, Its environment ca~~.si'sts'.;of including the water & !h % 'c rinutrients, oxygen, other gases and organic matter are dissolved. The biqtic P m e n t consists of microscopic organisms called plankton as well as dquatic plai~tlts animals and decomposers. The and plants are of different kinds such as phytoplanktons, partly submerged plants and trees growing around the edge of the pond. The animals consist of

Environmental Concerns

zooplanktons, insects, worms, molluscs, tadpoles, frogs, birds and various kinds of fishes. The decomposers are the saprotrophs like bacteria and fungi.

Fig. 1 .l: Environment of a carp in a pond.

The environnlent of the fish described above is its external environment; living organisms also possess an internal environment, enclosed by the outer body surface. The internal environment is relatively stable as compared to the external environment. However, it is not absolutely constant. Injury, illness or excessive stress upsets the internal environment. For example, if a marine fish is transferred to a fresh water environment, it will not be able to survive. You should realise that the environment is not static. The biotic and abiotic factors are in a flux and keep changing continuously. The organisms can tolerate changes in en$konment within a certain range called 'range of tolerance'.



You now know the constituents of the environment. You and I live in a defined area of earth where plants and animals, including ourselves, develop kinship with one another for life, food, water, shelter, mates etc. This descrete unit has living and non-living components, which are interdependent and interrelated in terms of their structure, components and functioning. Such a unit is called ecosystem. Ecosystems may vary in size froin the smallesl puddle of water to large forest, to a biome, to a habitat or to the entire global biosphere or ecosphere. (Fig 1.2)

Fig. 1.2: Biological systems represent a hierarchy of progressively increiesing level of complexity. Ecosystem represents a highly_complexlevel of organization.


000 metres. but they are not metabolically active. mostly.4) the biosphere extends from the floor of the ocean some 11.000 mctres (20. Fig. 1. or about 9. The energy required for the life within the biosphere comes from the sun without which the biosphere will collapse.5 km. Why is Environment Important? 1. 1. atmosphere and lithosphere.3:l Divisions of Biosphere Biosphere is that part of the ealth where life can exist. Living Biosphere is absent at extremes of the North and South poles. Three main subdivisions of the biosphere are: 1) lithosphere. ~ o ~ u region is just above and below the sea lated level. of the earth. The nutrients necessary for living organisms come from air. Living organisms are. and 3) atmosphere (air) or the gaseous envelope of the earth which extends upto a height of 22. the highest mountains and the deepest oceans. since existing conditions there do not support life.000 feet) above sea level as shohn in (Fig. water and atmosphere in which many smaller ecosystems exist and operate. As you can see in (Fig. Occasionally spores of fungi and bacteria do occur at great height beyond 9. Biosphere is that part. $+ 'Life in the biosphere is abundant between 200 metres (660 feet) below the sutface of the ocean and about 6. Fig. 1. like photosynthesis and respiration occur. .Before we explain the functioning of the components of the ecosystem let us first discuss the larger unit of natural landscape the biosphere. . It is a narrow layer around the surface of the earth. confined to the parts of biosphere that receive solar radiation during the day. water and soil and not from outside and the same" nutrients are recycled over and over again for life to continue.000 metres above the sea level. 1.4). (land) 2) hydrosphere (water). and hence represent only dormant life.000 inetres below the surface of the earth to the top of the highest mountnins.3: Idealised scheme of the biosphere. as it is here that the entire life is confined and the basic processes of life. . shows the idealised scheme of biosphere in relation to hydrosphere. I f you visualise the earth to be the size of an apple the biosphere would b~ as thick as its skin. The area of contact and interaction between these three components is really important for life.3. . Its most d e n ~ e l ~ .

Environmental Concerns organisms are not uniformly distributed throughout the biosphere. In this section we will discuss about the metabolic role of a few . while the tropical rain forests possess an exceedingly rich diversity of plants and animals.'Only a few organisms live in the polar regions. shows the composition of the atmosphere. Life at the extremes is however. namely carbon dioxide6 oxygen and nitrogen.00005 0. excluding water vapour. rare.important gases. Table 1.2: T h e relative proportions of gases in the lower atmosphere ' (below 80 kilometres).3.2 Atmosphere ' i Atmosphere is of vital significan&40 life as all components of air (except inert ones) serve as key metabolites for living organisms. Most organisms are limited to a narrow region depicted here between 6000 metres above sea level and 200 metres below sea level. which highligG the importance of atniosphere. Table 1.000007 . Life exists from the highest mountain peaks to the depths of the ocean. Fig.4: Vertical dimensions of the biosphere.000009 0.2. 1. Nitrous oxide Xenon Ozone 0.l.

potassium.8. Plants use carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and give off oxygen. magnesium etc.5: The linkage between carbon dioxide and oxygeli cycle. 1. only after decomposition of the living matter. Oxygen is used by living organisms to oxidize food material mainly glucose molecules in order to release energy which is needed for various activities by organism.5. in the presence of sunlight to produce organic substances or food such as glucose (a vital molecule in living things) and oxygen.1. This oxygen is available to animals for process of the cellular respiration. basic constituent of all organic compounds. Chemosynthetic bacteria are also producers. to complete the cycle as you can see in Fig. which is essential for respiration.respiration cycle. Oxygen Oxygen. Food or nutrient is not only a source of energy but is also used to build up the organisms' bodies. unlike plants these bacteria which occur in deep ocean trenches where sun energy is absent. as the energy source.1. together form a cycle called photosynthesis . Animals breathe out carbon dioxide. In this process they use atmospheric carbon dioxide along with water and some minerals such as calcium. as you can see in Fig. derive energy by the process of 'chemosysthesis'. (Refer further to carbon cycle in subsection 1. i Fig. They do so by the process of photosynthesis.2 as well) Why is Environment ~rnportant? Carbon dioxide enters the living world as the. However. enters the living world through respiration. instead of sun.Carbon Dioxide You must be aware that chlorophyll bearing organisms namely green plants.5. green and purple bacteria and blue green algae are the only biological or biotic members in nature which manufacture their own food. which is a familiar process in both plants and animals including humans. some carbon dioxide is released from decomposition of dead organisms. an important constituent of the atmosphere. The carbon and oxygen supplied by carbon dioxide remain in living matter until death and the C 0 2 returns to the atmosphere.(water) Energy is defined as the capacity to do work LXXL+> photosynthes~s Sunlight c ~ H+ ~ ~ o ~ 602t glucose (food) + minerals + oxygen respiration C6H1206 602 > 6 C O ~ + +6H20 + energy to do work 4 heat energy . They use hydrogen sulphide. This cycle can be depicted as follows: 6C02 + 6 H z 0+ minerals (carbon dioxide) -I. Respiration atid photosynthesis.

vegetation. No two biomes are . sulphur. boron.2 you will see how nitrogen becomes available to the living organisms when you study the nitrogen cycle. In metabolic processes. silicon. 1. barium and possibly nickel. water consumed by organisins is partly excreted back into the environment and a portion used for building the organisms is returned to the environment after their death and decay. Movement of these nutrients or materials through the living orgallisms occur as well. hence it is essential for life in all living organisms. While looking at table 1. 1. iodine. which are characterized. selenium. cobalt. In addition some organisms may also require for special functions for their survival. and ii) it forms the soil.3. copper.8 as well) . molybdenum.type. mainly from the hydrosphere. nucleic acids.e. . (Refer to table 1. Many other nutrients. and other nitrogellous compounds.2 you may have noticed that nitrogen fonns the main constituent of air and it appears that we seem to be living in an envelope of nitrogen. the paradox is that this large amount of nitrogen is uilavailable to living organisms in the gaseous state (N2).3 Hydrosphere You may know that water is the most important component of protoplasm. it is the only source of hydrogen and one of the several sources of oxygen. This food manufactured by green plants is consumed by other organisms.3. During the process of metabolism. You will learn about the water movement in the biosphere when you study the hydrologic cycle in subsection 1. which is required mainly by terrestrial plants. All organisms also need phosphorus. biomass by plants. Earth is sometimes called the watery planet as this is the only planet in the solar system which has an abundant supply of water. The dozen or more biomes of the earth are spread over millions o f square kilometres and span entire continents. bromine. potassium. It is required by organisms for the synthesis of proteins. animal life and general soil . Nitrogen Nitrogen is also an essential component of living systems. Water is used by organism as raw material for various metabolic processes and they draw it . by climate. Nitrogen has to be 'fixed' into 'active' nitrogen largely as nitrates and ammonia by certain bacteria in order to become available to living organisms. zinc and probably chlorine. vanadium. oxygen.4 Lithosphere The lithosphere helps in the metabolic process of organisms in two ways: i) it is the only source of most of the minerals for organisms belonging to either terrestrial or aquatic conditions. magnesium. in addition to carbon. nutrients like aluminium. strontium.7. manganese.8. However.Environmental Concerns Thus nutrients and energy are combined into one entity i.4 BIOMES AND AQUATIC LIFE ZONES The terrestrial part of the biosphere is divisible into enormous regions called biomes. sodium. 1. In subsection 1. iron.2. hydrogen and nitrogen occur in the lithosphere and the organism requires them as well. calcium.5 in section 1.

4.1 Different Types of Biomes Wliy is Environment Important? We will lean1 about different types of vast ecosystems namely biomes and aquatic zones on our earth. Table 1. The major differences between the various aquatic zones is due to salinity. fur bearing carnivores. Temperature on an average is moderate and rainfall is abundant.3 and 1. arctic hare. with some pine and firs. wolves etc. These are generally the most productive agricultural areas of the earth Most aniinals are the familiar vertebrates and invertebrates. Siberian tiger. Northern Europe. levels of dissolved nutrients. water temperature.1. We call get an idea about both of these ecosystems by looking at tables 1.3 and Fig. which however are not called biomes but are very similar.4. Western China. lemming. snowy owl. patarmigan. wolverine. 1. 1.2 Terrestrial Biomes Let us first study in brief the main features of the various types of terrestrial ecosystems wit11 the help of Table 1. Tundra 1 Region I Flora and Fauna I Northein most region adjoining the ice bound poles Devoid of trees except stunted ski-ubs in the southern part.6. elks. New Zealand etc. oak. arc reindeer. hawks. mosses and sedges. puma. Reptiles and amphibians are alnlost absent. Temperate Deciduous Forest Extends over Central and So~theiil Europe. The fauna consist of small seed eating birds.3: Terrestrial biomes. little mink. ground flora includes lichen. The typical animal. depth of sunlight penetration. maple and cherry.4. Also known as boreal forest. he flora includes trees like beech. The climate determines the boundaries of a biome and abundance o f plants and animals found in each one of them. Eastern North America. 3. The most important climatic factors are temperature and precipitation. / Nameof Biome 1. arctic fox. polar bear. . . The dominating vegetation is coniferous evergreens mostly spruce. Asia and North America but in areas of more moderate temperature than tundra. in that they are regions o f relatively distinct plant and animal life. Aquatic systems are also divided into distinct life zones. Japan.alike.

prairie dog. Grasslands North America Midwest and Ukraine: dominated by grasses. Dessert . Temperature is high. Multiple storey of broad-leafed evergreen tree species are in abundance.6: Simplified scheme of the major terrestrial biomes. Most animals and epiphytic plants are concentrated in the canopy or tree top zones. which abound with life. ' . . Continental interiors with very low and sporadic rainfall with low humidity. cheetah. wolves. The flora is drought resistance vegetation such as cacti. antelope. sagebrush.. Tropical ~ain Forest ' 6. Many species of reptiles mammals and birds occur. Grasses with scattered trees and fire resisting thorny shrubs. Temperate conditions with rather low rainfall. The days are very hot but nights are cold 7. Savanna 0" Thornwood -----b -----+ Increasing Aridity Fig. 40% of the world's plant and animal species. buffaloes.Environmental Concerns Nameof 1 Region Tropical areas of high rainfall in the equatorial regions. rodents. Grasses dominate the vegetation. elephants and rhinoceros. The fauna include large herbivores like bison. Biome 4. and a rich and diverse array of ground nesting bird. hyena.l.and mongoose. and many rodents.. The fauna include a great diversity of grazers and browsers such as antelopes. zebras. cattle. euphorbias. arranged along ecoclines of increasing aridity at different latitudes. showing the predominant influence of moisture and temperature an the structure of plant communities. Flora and Fauna Tropical rainforest covers only about 7% of the earth's surface and houses. the carnivores include lion.

Table 1. They are always influencing each other and organising themselves into communities and have functional relationship with their external environment. springs. They vary considerably in s physical. Lentic water bodies include pools. rivulets. coined by Prof. about 90 per cent of which is sodium chloride. ' ' was The word ecosysten~. Characteristics Fresh Water Ecosystem (having flowing water) or lentic (still or stagnant water).1.5 ECOSYSTEM Each biome can be subdivided into smaller units. In estuaries. . Their main charactehstics are given in table 1. Animals found there are lizards. 'population' has many uses and meanings in other fields of study.4: Aquatic Ecosystems. creeks. An ecosystem is defined as. ponds. Why is Environment Important? Estuaries 1.4. brooks.4. rivers mouths and tidal marshes form the gstuaries. Lotic water systems include freshwater streams. (parts per thousand).750 m and with salinity 35 ppt. cacti and succulent plants. A subdivision of biome such as a pond is called an ecological system or ecosystem. b ~ g and lakes. Aquatic ecosysteps are distinguished into fresh water. Arthur Tansley in 1935. In ecology. Populations of plants and animals in the ecosystem do not function independently of each other. 'a population is a group of potentially interbreeding individuals that occur together in space and time'. and rivers. marine and estuarine ecosystems on the basis of salt content. sandy. fresh water from rivers meets ocean water. The term. The individual comprising a population are members of the same species. Coastal bays. some swamps.3 Aquatic Zones Aquatic ecosystem covers more than 70% of the earth's surface and are as diverse in species as the biomes. chemical and biological characteristics. terrain. Marine Ecosystem Nearly three -quarters of earth's surface is covered by ocean wit11 an average depth of 3. interacting with the physical environment (abiotic component) so t h a t flow of energy leads to clearly defined biotic structures and cycling of materials between living and nonliving parts and which is self regulatory based on feed-back information about the population. The prefix 'eco' means environment. and the limiting factors which control the living and non-living components. any unit (a biosystem) that includes all the organisms that function together (the biotic community) i n a given area. ~stuaries highly productive as compared to the adjacent river or sea. and the two are mixed by action are of tides. The various kinds of organisms that inhabit an ecosystem forms its populations. snakes. For example the desert bionle of Rajasthan is characterised by arid conditions.

nitrogen etc. 1. As a result of these complex interactions. While each of these abiotic factors may be studied by itself. however. 1. forest fires. water.1 as well).7: Schematic representation of an ecosystem. It also involves a large number of chemicals like oxygen. light and heat. moisture. The physical or abiotic components are the inorganic and nonliving parts of the world. The three major components are the producers. Tlie arrows indicate interactions within the system and with the environment. climates. and chemical as well as physical processes including volcanoes. 1.6 COMPONENTS OF ECOSYSTEM Recall the definition of an ecosystem from Section 1. air. Fig. Fig. . the consumers.1 Abiotic Components One of the important components of the ecosystem are abiotic or nonliving components about which you have already read in section 1. sediments. The abiotic part consists of soil. illustrates this beautifully. but the most important include the carbon. in the kinds and relative proportions of non-biological constituents and in the degree of variations in time and space. and so on. each of these factor is influenced by and in turn influences all the other factors.2 (Refer to table 1.1.3. and light energy etc. storage and output of energy as well as cycling of essential materials through the system.6. and the various chemical reactions. and the abiotic elements: inactive or dead organic matter. Ecosystems differ greatly in composition. earthquakes. Any complete definition of an ecosystem includes the biotic as well as the abiotic components and the interaction between the two. nitrogen and phosphorous cycles. transfer. nutrients in solution in aquatic ecosystems. and weather conditions. Each of these processes is energy dependent. The dotted lines represent the boundary of the system. floods. the ecosystem has to adjust to these changes to attain a state of equilibrium. in the number and kinds of species. These physical and chemical processes are the result of the physical characteristics of the earth: air. the soil matrix.7.Environmental Concerns The def nition of ecosystem as you can see involves the interaction between living and non-living components of an ecosystem and input. 1. There are numerous chemical processes.

vi) Atmospheric gases: Oxygen and carbon dioxide are generally not limiting factors for terrestrial organisms. and hail is one of the most important abiotic factors. The daily and seasonal temperature changes of-ten act as limiting factors and determine the number and kind of organisms present in a region. Aquatic habitats are subject to changes in chemical and gas content and to fluctuations of depth. Humidity & Water: Moisture in the air is very necessary for many plants and animals to function properly. That single factor is called the limiting factor. depending where on earth you are. Temperature patterns vary with latitudes and altitudes of the earth. duration and wavelength (color) of light are important factors that regulate the life activities of many living things. valleys. which in turn. Usually precipitation increases with elevation although at extreme elevations it may decrease. These two gases are abundant in our atmosphere. Let us now discuss some of the important abiotic factors: i) Light: Light energy is necessary for green plants to carry on photosynthesis. Water holes in the Everglades of Florida and the Savannah of Africa are essential for the existence of native wildlife. Why is Environment Important? ii) iii) iv) - vii) Altitude: Precipitation and temperature both vary with elevation. may be a determinant for the animal life capable of living in the habitat. Light from the sun (solar energy) is the ultimate source of energy for all living things. Although these factors interact with each other. Some animals are. sun' generally decreases. the angle of solar radiation varies during the year as one travels fi-om the equator. Some organisms are able to exist at much lower temperatures. The intensity. snow. Most organisms depend on some form of precipitation. All animals are directly or indirectly dependent on the food substance produced by green plants. either directly or indirectly. rain. cliffs. basins. The availability of light energy differs greatly on different parts of the earth. The type of soil. which results in a decrease in the average temperature. viii) Latitude: As one moves north or south of the equator. sleet. active only at night when the humidity is higher. restrict or isolate organisms. The atmospheric gases can be limiting factors for aquatic organisms. is a limiting factor for the vegetation. Topography: Landforms like mountains. Temperature: Many living things carry on their life activities at temperatures between 30 lo F and 185' F.Abiotic factors are usually the most important determinants of where and how well an organism exists in its environment. Seasonal changes: Because of the tilt of the earth on its axis. Temperature usually decreases 2-3 degrees per thousand feet. The type of soil will determine such factors as pH amount and type of minerals present. from underground. Precipitation: Precipitation in the form of fog. etc. usually there is one single factor which serves t o limits the range of an organism. may encourage. for example. The amount of precipitation differs. ix) . Substrate: This is defined as the base of material on which an organism lives. the angle of the .

deer. ii) Among consumers. iii) parasites which are smaller than the host. cow.e. spring. fats and proteins. Certain fungi and bacteria. They are called omnivores. Both the consumers'and producers complete their life cycles and new generation of population develop while the old ones die. The role ' of decomposers is very special and important. basically green plants. There is a continuous breaking up or decomposition of the ' dead organic matter everywhere in the ecosystem and there is a continuous cycling of materials. ii) carrion feeders which feed on corpses. All other organisms that are unable to make their own food but depend on other organisms for food to meet their energy needs for survival are called heterotrophs or phagotrophs or consumers.. Organisms which eat a herbivore. The parasites depend on the metabolism of their host for their food supply. kill their prey. capture and. certain bacteria and algae.6. like a bird that eats grasshoppers are called secondary consumers. soil inhabiting nematodes and arthropods are also detritus feeders and are called detrivores. I . that in the presence of sunlight can synthesise their own food from simple inorganic substances. Greenglants first produce simple carbohydrates like glucose and later various complex carbohydrates. the secondary and tertiary consumers are carnivores. Biotic Components The biological or biotic components (Fig. Most of the saprotrophs are microscopic and they are all heterotrophic in nature.7 again) .Ehvironmental Concerns It produces pronounced changes in the weather during the year. We (humans) are good examples of an omnivore. xi) Weather: is the combination of temperature. They also contribute to the breaking down of organic matter. rabbit and insects which eat green plants are called primary consumers or herbivores. phosphates and a number of organic compounds are largely the by-products of organism activity on dead organisms. Certain decomposers are also called scavengers. Fragments of decomposing organic matter is called detritus Secondary and tertiary consumers may be i) predators which hunt.8) of an ecosystem interact in an abiotic background and include: i) Organisms. While the primary consumers are herbivores. Water. preciptation. iv) there are some animals which have flexible food habits.1. and live on or inside the host on which they feed while the host is alive. giving rise to seasons like winter. (See Fig. Organisms that are able to manufacture their own food are called autotrophs or primary producers. wind. proteins and fats. plants. and autumn. animals and microbes interact. It is in this abiotic background that biotic organisms i.2 Food refers to complex organic compounds such as carbohydrates. You must be wondering what happens to the dead. which are responsible for the decomposition are called decomposers or saprotrophs or reducers. Animals like lions and vultures which are not killed or eaten by other animals are top carnivores. 1. humidity. cloudiness and other atmospheric conditions at a specific place and time and has profound affect on organism.1. summer. Some animals such as earthworms. animals such as goat. carbon dioxide. xii) Climate: is the long-term average pattern of weather and influences the vegetation and organisms of a place. as they eat both plants (therefore are herbivores) and animals (so are carnivores). Organisms which eat secondary consumers are called tertiary consumers.

third and fourth trophic (Trophe = nourishment) levels or food levels. second.8).) trophic level. Let us see the trophic levels to which autotrophs and different types of heterotrophs belong to: Green plants (producers). two.Autotrophs Herbivores (primary consumers). being omnivores.1. (Fig. three or four steps and accordingly these steps are known as the first. trophic level I . trophic level I11 . This energy always flows from lower (producer) to higher (herbivore. trophic level 11.Heterotrophs Thus energy also flows through the trophic levels: from producers to subsequent trophic levels (Fig.Heterotrophs Carnivores (tertiary consumers). .8: Biotic members of the ecosystem and their position In the trophic level.6. where complex natural community obtain their food from plants through one.Heteiotrophs Carnivores (secondary consumers). ..3 Trophic Levels \ You are sow aware that an ecosystem is considered as a basic unit.9). carnivore etc. . 1. It never flows in the reverse direction that is from carnivores to herbivores to producers.\ -2' /?I. trophic level V .1.Heterotrophs Top carnivores (quarternary consumers). Furthermore there is a loss of some energy in the form of unusable heat at each trophic level so that energy level decreases from the first trophic level ' Humans. Why is Environment Important? - Sun Green plants Primary producers - Herbivores Primary consumers Carnivores Tertiary consumers Rg. trophic level IV . \ t i 1 1 4. may belong to more than one'trophic level. 1.

Only the stored materials are available to organisms at the next trophic level.10. The assimilated energy is used for various functions of the body like respiration and movement.12) Energy lost as heat rnoveniedt Ingestion consumers 1. When the organism dies the energy stored in tissues is used by the decomposers.10: A pond food chain . 1. 1. that is one organism becomes food for the other.Energy ingested in food is either digested and dssimilated or passed through and eliminated In faeces. I I I I Decomposer I 22 Fig.Environmental Concerns upwards. Trophic levels are numbered according to the steps an organism is away from the source of food or energy. The study of trophic level gives us-an idea about the energy transformation in an ecosystem. As a result there are usually four or five trophic levels and seldom more than six as beyond that very little energy is left to support any organism. form a food chain as depicted in Fig. This indicates that organisms belonging to the same trophic level obtain food through the same number of steps from the producer.6. that is the producer.4 Food Chain Each link in the food chain can also be be calIed trophic level You now know from the previous section that organisms in the ecosystem are related through feeding or trophic levels. (see also Fig. Furthermore it provides a usekl conceptual basis to include all organisms that share the same general mode of feeding into one group which together are said to belong to the same trophic level. A sequence of organisms that feed on one another.9: Energy use by consumers . Similar to the trophic levels and for the same reasons the links or steps in a food chain are usually to four or five.1. 1. The arrows in the figure denote the direction and movement of nutrients and energy from producer to consumer. reproduction or stored and used for the growth of new tissues or excreted.

He can eat it directly or feed it to his goats and then eat the goats. Litter -+ springtail (insect) -+ sniall spiders (carnivore) The distinction between these two food chains is the source of energy for the first level consumers. b) In the same time 25.000 calories support 10 people. he can only shorten the food chain. . In highly populated countries. are members of a single food chain. eating herbivorous animals or other carnivores. thus ensuring the survival of their species. Suppose that a fanner has a crop of wheat and vegetables. Other animals eat different kinds of food. In a forest with a large biomass of plants and a relatively small biomass of . people tend to be vegetarians because then the food chain is the shortest and a given area of land can in this way support larger number of people. a b Fig. by eating the primary producers .e. (See also Fig. All food webs begid with autotrophs and end with decomposers . Why is Environment Important? Humans are at the end of a numbxr of food chain. rather than animals. Thus the sun's energy is used most efficiently if people are vegetarians. ii) Detritus Food Chain: The food chain starts from dead organic matter of . eating plants but a secondary or tertiary consumer in other chains. animals even larger portion .. so they are not only members of different food chains but may also occupy different positions in different food chains and trophic levels.1. utilising the plant or plant part as their food.decaying animals and plant bodies to the micro-organisms and then to detritus feeding organism called detrivores or decomposer then to herbivore and to other predators.plants. to get energy i.11 shows that a large number of people can be supported on a vegetarian diet as compared to a non vegetarian diet on a given piece of land. of energy flow may be via detritus pathways. In the grazing food chain the primary source of energy is living plant biomass while in the detritus food chain the source In a community of organisms in a shallow sea. Figure 1.11: Tlie relative efficiency ofvegetarian and non-vegetarian diets.000 calories of plant matter support only one person who eats meat. for example: grass -+ grasshopper -+ birds -+ hawks or falcon. This food chain begins from green plants at the base and the primary consumer is herbivore.Some animals eat only one kind of food and therefore. two main types of food chains have been distinguished: i) Grazing Food Chain: The consumers which start the food chain. about 30% of the total energy flows via detritus chains. constitute the grazing food chain.8) Since man can do nothing about increasing the amount of light energy and vely little about the efficiency of energy transfer. 1. An animal may be a primary consumer in one'chain. a) In a vegetarian diet 25. TYPES OF FOOD CHAINS In nature.

12: A complex network or web of primary prodl. many herbivores at a time.?cers. we eat watermelon in summer and peaches in the winter. Similarly a herbivore may be food source for many different carnivorous species. . The two food chains are linked. The initial energy source for detritus fobd chain is the waste materials and dead organic matter from the grazing food chain. For instance a plant may serve as food source for.12).. which seldom occurs in ecosystems. especially when that resource is at one of the lower trophic levels. A food chain represents only one part of.the food or energy flow through an ecosystem and implies a simple. A food web illustrates.g. More typically. all possible transfers of energy and nutrients among the organisms in an ecosystem. 1. Also food availability and preferences of herbivores as well as carnivores may shiA seasonally e. Fig. isolated relationship. For example. whereas a food chain traces only one pathway of the food.l. Thus there are interconnected networks of feeding relationships that take the form of food webs (Fig.Environmental Concerns of energy is dead organic matter or detritus.consumers and decomposers illustrated in a typical terrestrial food web in which trophic levels are depicted by Roman numerals. grasses can suppoh rabbit or grasshopper or goat or cow. 1 6 5 Food Web . the same food resource is part of more than one chain. An ecosystem may consist of several interrelated food chains.

long-lived mobile soluble in fats biologically active Fig. If the polhdant is soluble in water. For example chlorinated hydrocarbons. By the nondegradabale pollutants we mean those materials. the pollutant must be: 1. The DDT concentration occurs because it is metabolised and excreted much more slowly than the nutrients that are passed from one trophic level to the next. i) Why is Environment Important? We are concerned about these phenomena because togetl~er they enable cven small concentrations of chemicals in the environment to find their way into orgallisms in high enough dosages to cause problen~s.13: The figure shows how DDT becomes concentrated in the tissries of organisms through four successive trophic levels in a food chain. * If a pollutant is short-lived. In bioaccumulation there is an increase in concentration of a pollutant from the environment to the first organism in a food chain.l. ii) Biomagnification: biomagnification refers to the tendency of pollutants to concentrate as they move from one trophic level to the next. however. 4. Thus in biomagnification there is an increase in concentration of a pollutant from one link in a food chain to another.1. we will examine how pollutants specially nondegradable ones m~ve~through various trophic levels in an ecosystem (Fig.6. 2. it will be broken down before it can become dangerous. 1. it will stay in one place and is unlikely to be taken up by organisms. If it is not mobile. which cannot be metabolised by the living organisms. Pollutants that dissolve in fats. 3. So DDT accumulates in the bodies (especially in fat). order for In biomagnification to occur. The numbers in the figure represent the concentration values of DDT and its derivatives (in parts per million or ppm) in the tissues. Bi'oaccumulation: refers to how pollutants enter a food chain.6 Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification In this subsection. may be retained for . it will be excreted by the organism. Movement of these pollutants involve two main processes: i) bioaccumulation and ii) biomagnification.13).

6. For example. a a a Pyramid of numbers. belonging to each trophic level in an ecosystem. Pyramid of Numbers This deals with the relationship between the numbers of primary producers and consumers of different levels (Fig. :. In mammals. econdary consumers(1) Primary consumers (11) FIg.s I . I . it may biomagnify. we might have the following pyramid for a grass field as depicted in Fig. and are referred to as ecological pyramids. The food producer forms the base of the pyramid and the top carnivore forms the tip. The ecological pyramids are of three categories.6. 1. The pyramid consists of a number of horizontal bars depicting specific trophic levels which are arranged sequentially from primary producer level through herbivore. since it probably won't cause any problems.7 i I Pyramids You have studied trophic Ievels in subsection 1.:rslitl of r n:ipn:k .l4(a) where the base of the pyramid represents the food production base for other higher trophic levels.l. carnivore onwards.3.1.Environmental Concerns a long time. The number of individuals drastically decreases with each steps towards higher trophic levels and the diagrammatic representation assumes apyramid shape and is called pyramid of numbers.14) It is a graphic representation of the total number of individuals of different species. but we really don't worry about it much.14: Pjrrarnid nl' numbers shows the number of organisms at each troplnic IcveB in the ecosystem (a) An llpright pyramid of numbers (la) l n invwteal pye. Other consumer trophic levels are in between. If a pollutant is not active biologically. since the milk has a lot of fat in it and because the very young are often more susceptible to damage from toxins (poisons). l. Pyramid of biomass. and Pyramid of energy or productivity. we often test the milk produced by females. It is traditional to measure the amount of pollutants in fatty tissues of organisms such as fish.These steps of trophic levels can be expressed'in a diagrammatic way. The length of each bar represents the total number of individuals at each trophic level in an ecosystem.

which support a large number of herbivores. the big trees. it is very difficult to count all the organisms. Why is Environment Important? Pyramid of Biomass In order to overcome the shortcomi&s of pyramid of numbers.However. in a pyramid o f numbers and so the pyramid of number does not completely define the trophic structure for an ecosystem. in many aquatic ecosystems. a large base of primary producers with a smaller tz-ophic level perched on top.15). A pyramid of numbers does not take into account the fact that the size of organisms being couilted in each trophic level can vary. depending upon the size and biomass.e.. it is just that the survivors (they may be few) are reproducing at a phellomenal rate. This is because the producers are tiny phytoplanktons that grow and reproduce rapidly. the total dry weight of all organisms at a each trophic level at a particular time. the pyramid of biomass can have a small base. the amount of biomass is known as standing crop or standing biomass. with the consumer biomass at any instant actually exceeding the producer' biomass. This is because the tree is a primary producer and would represent the base of the pyramid and the dependent herbivores and carnivore will represent the second and third trophic level respectively. In contrast.5 grams) econdary consumers (11 grams) rimary consumers (37 grams) Producer (807 grams) Pyramid of biomass ~ i ~ ~ l . In this approach individuals in each trophic level are weighed instead of being counted. (Fig. For most ecosystems on land. A t the time of sampling.. i.The : 1 4 pyramid of biomass depicts total weight of organisms supportedlat each level. The phytoplanktons are consumed about as fast as they reproduce. and inay even be completely inverted. 1. 1. ertiary consumers (1. - . Thus. the pyramid of biomass may assume an inverted form. the pyramid of bioil~ass has-. the pyramid of biomass is used. .14 (b). Pyramid of biomass is usually determined by collecting all organisms occupying each trophic level separately and measuring h e i r dry weight. A count in a forest would have a small number of large producers. Here. As a result the pyramid will assume an inverted shape as you can see in Fig. Biomass is measured in g/m2. the pyramid of numbers may not always be upright. This overcomes the size difference problem because all kinds of organisms at a trophic level are weighed. This wo~lld give us a pyramid of biomass.

Thus usabie energy decreases from sunlight to producer to herbivore to carnivore. each higher level. Now suppose an animal.17). Most of the energy is not absorbed. 1. An energy pyramid more accurately. for the pyramid shape is not distorted by over emphasis on variations in the size and weight ofthe individuals. where k cal represents energy.7). the energy pyramid will always be upright (see Figure 1. say a deer.6. 'A Number or Calories In energy pyraiii&> given trophic level. Hence the pyramid is always right side up (Fig. reflects the with conversion of solar energy to chemical energy laws of themodynan~ics. an energy pyramid is probably the most informative. and how much they store in body tissue. ' Green Plants 100 cal Fig. Let us explain this with an se example.Environmental Concerns Pyramid of Energy When we wish to compare the functional roles of the trophic levels in an ecosystem. A pyramid of energy must be based on a determination of the actual amount of energy that individuals take in. with a large energy base at the bottom. how much remains in their waste products. 28 . always has a smaller energy content than the trophic level immediately below it. 1. Therefore.? is due to the fact that some energy is always lost as heat while going up from one trophic level to the next. rn2 represents unit area and y represents years. A lion that cats the deer gets an even smaller amount of energy. The unit of measupment is kcallm2iy. therefore only 100 calories are stored as energy rich materials. Secondary consumers (48 kilocalories) XVX Pyramid of energy Priinarv consumers (596 kilocalories) One calorie (cal) is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one cubic centimetre of water through one degree centigrade. This as you may recall from section 1. of the energy absorbed only a sillall portioii is utilised by green plants.17: Pyramid of energy showing energy loss s. The deer uses some of it for its own metabolisin and stores only 10 cal as food energy. out of which the plant uses up some for respiration and of the 1000 calories. On5 kilo calorie (k cal = 1000 cal) Fig. 1.16). The energy inputs and outputs are calculated so that energy flow can be expressed per unit area of land or volume of water per unit time.16: The pyramid of energy depicts the amounts of energy available at each trophic level. and heat energy at each trophic level and with loss of energy being depicted at each transfer to another trophic level (See section 1. how inuch they burn up during metabolism. S ~ ~ p p oan ecosystem receives 1000 calories of light energy in a given day. Each bar in the pyramid indicates the amount of energy utilistgl at each 'trophic level. some is reilected back to space. eats the plant containing 100 cal of food energy.

fats. and proteins as well as a host of other liutrients are transferred into herbivores. Inlplicit in the system.:: Tliis process maintains the life on the earth. calcium.1 Flow of Energy in an Ecosystem With the help of the lollowing flow chart. All the food materials or nutrients that we or other animals consuine are obtained directly or indirectly from such producers. Of this 19% is absorbed directly by thc atmosphere and the rest by the earth surface. by now energy used for all life processes is derived from solar cnergy. The remaining 70% of tile radiation' is absorbed by the earth's atinosphere.18: Natural balilnced ccosystcn~. -1s you know..wl~ich or involve the flow of energy and cycling of materials (Fig. illvc. wl~ich compounds such as. water. phosphates and a few others also f o r ~ n part of living organisms. Fig. This means that chemical energy in the form of carbohydrates. into food materials and is stored within their bodies. 1.onof nutrienis as well. which include the basic inorganic elements sucll as. carbonates. As a result there is continuous flow of energy from the sun through various organisins and then to outer spa(. we can interpret tlie f~~nctional aspect of an ecosysten~ the interactions between various components. cir. occur in small am0~11~s. carbon.cnas well as. addition. which caters to the necd of our ecosystem.1.{-ul .18). This process continues upto the decomposer level through the carnivores. Trapping and flow of energy in. The flow of solar energy is unidirectional. oxygen and nir.7.. or producer + herbivore + carnivore relationship. 11 1 sodium. and potassium. thc flow of solar energy is unidirectional and it is converted into chemical energy through photosynthesis by plants. It has been observed that 30% of the total solar radiation entering our atmosphere is reflected by the earthatmosphere system.7 ENERGY IN ECOSYSTEM Why is E~ivironrner~t Important? Sun is the ultiinatc source of all our energy. In the previous subsection you read that solar energy along with nutrients is converted by producers. (consumer).~l. Another feature of the process is that the energy trapped by green plants when transferred from one food level or tropbic level . hydrogen. For an ecosystem to function. it is essential that there flow is a conti~~uous of energy and cycling of nutrients. 1. such as autotroph (producer) -+ heterotroph. 1. is the direction of energy movement through the ecosystem. In the process. which also incorporate in their protoplasm a number of inorganic elements and compounds. Its immediate implication is that an ecosystem will collapse if the sun stops giving out energy. These green plants are grazed subsequently by heterotrophs.

19: A diagram illustrating the manlier in which nutrients cycle through an ecosystem. this principle means that "Energy may be transferred or transformed. This chemical energy is transformed and used by the cells of the orgallisms through the process of the metabolism for their various activities. to another also undergoes losses at each transfer along the chain. the cell will be unable to function and becomes disordered. If the energy supply is interrupted.7. This is because in an ecosystem. For example the energy of visible light is absorbed by green plants through photosynthesis and is changed into chemical energy. This law clearly operates in the trophic levels where at each succeeding level some chemical energy of food is transformed into unusable heat energy. Transfer of energy from one trophic level to another tells the real story. about 1 0 k cal will get converted into herbivore tissue. Since heat energy cannot do usehl works.organisms and ecosystenls must receive energy supply on a continuing basis which is provided by the sun. Most of the energy is used to for metabolic activities. The first and second law of thermodynamics are given below: 1.8) and is governed by the two laws of thermodynamics. The following diagram (Fig. 2) The second law of thermodynamics states that part of some useful energy is degraded into unusable waste as heat energy during every energy transformation.Environmental Concerns An ecological rule of thumb allows a magnitude of 10 reduction in energy as it passes from one trophic level to another.6) So in biological context. - Energy movement Nutr~ent movement 4 - Fig. t . 1. If herbivores eat 1000 k c 1 of plant energy. which is provided to it mainly in form of ATP while some energy gets transformed into unusable heat (energy).1. (Refer subsection 1. and 1 k cal into second level carnivore production.is stored in glucose molecules. In order to continue to function .19) depicts the energy transfers and energy losses and nutrient movernent in an ecosystem. but it is not lost". Such disorganization can be either a cause or a consequence of cell death. Energy does not cycle because all that is derived from the sun eventually dissipates as heat.5. but such data are hard to collect. movement. The waste heat energy escapes into the surrounding enviroilrnent. data suggest that a 90 % loss of energy from one trophic level to another may be too high. and other activities of living organisms.1. energy is transformed in an orderly sequence (Refer again to Fig. However. This is because cells of organisms continuously need energy. 30 . more 'energy must be supplied to a biological system from outside to compensate the inevitable energy loss.lO k cal will get into first level carnivore production. which.2 Laws of Thermodynamics 1) The first law of thermodynamics deals with the conservation of matter and energy and states that energy cannot be created or destroyed but can only change from one form to another.

The developing countries of the third world lilce India face perpetual energy shortage.) . This is because the faecal matter. excretory products and dead bodies of all plants and animals are broken down into inorganic materials by decomposers and are eventually returned to the ecosystem for reuse by the autotrophs. the metabolic rate at which they live. Human impact on the pattern and quanhlm of energy flow has changed significantly because of the considerable amount of fossil fuel used by urban. The rich countries have a high rate of consumption. nutrients cycle in the ecosystem and transfer of nutrients does not involve loss of nutrients like that of energy. In tl>epresent day world. On the other way hand. energy and prosperity go hand in hand. which are needed in traces are called micronutrients (see Table 1.times more steel 56 . As compared to a citizen in India. Among the more illan 100 chemicals that occw in nature about 40 are present in living organisms. nutrients of food matter never get used up. energy movement is unidirectional (unlike the nutrients which cycle) in an ecosystem. many kind of alga (which are the producer base of most aquatic food chain). the ecosystem maintains its entity and prevents collapse of the system.What would happen if all people in the world become vegetarians? Hints: Humans cannot digest most parts of plants. village!) or 500 Ethiopians. You have already read ill previous sections that energy flows through ecosystems enabling the organisms to perform various kinds of work and this energy is ultinlately lost as heat forever in terms o f the usefulness of the system. uses: 50 . and the complexity of the ecosystem.8 MATTER IN ECOSYSTEM OR GEOCHEMICAL CYCLES I By now you must be well aware that the living world depends upon the flow of energy and the circulation of nutrients through ecosystem. industrial and nlral communities. - Groups Group I Macronutrients which constitute more than I percent each of dry organic weight Element Main Reservoir Atmosphere Hydrosphere Atmosphere Atmosphere and Soil Lithosphere The reservoirs or pools of nutrients are the regions where the nutrients occur in bulk.5: Chemical elements or mineral nutrients that make up living things. energy that passes from herbivore to carnivore does not pass back to herbivore from carnivore.S. Both influence the abundance of organisms. we can conclude the following: a Why is Environment Important? Human intervention in natural ecosystem is growing significantly. They can be recycled again and again indefinitely.5) I Flow of energy through the ecosystem is a findanlental process which can be easily quantified if the energy input to theaecosystem and its subsequent level to another can be expressed in terms of transforination from one tropl~ic calories. Activity . Nutrients that are needed by organisms in large amounts are called macronutrients while those. So if people were to become herbivores they would be excluded from many food chains. This becomes clearer when we say that. a typical person in the U. and as much energy as 35 (a wliole.times more energy 1 70F times more synthetic rubber and newspriilt 250 . so the initial energy trapped by an autotroph does not revert back to solar input. 1. (Refer Sectionl. Table 1.5). - Carbon Hydrogen Oxygen Nitrogen Phosphorus (Cont.From the above figure. As a consequence of this unidirectional and continuous energy flow. when we breathe we inay be inhaling several million atoms of elements that may have been inhaled by the Emperor Akbar or any other person from history.times more motor fuel 300 times more plastic as much grain as five Kenyans.

geo for atmosphere. Less than 1% water is present in the form of ice-free fresh water in rivers. . nitrogen and pl~osphorus elements and as compounds make up 97% of the mass of our bodies and are more thai195% of the mass of all living organisms. hydrogen. Yet this relatively negligible portion of the planet's water is crucially - I Protoplasm. In contrast sedimentary cycles are considered relatively imperfect. as some nutrients are lost from the cycle and get locked into sediments and so become unavailable for immediate cycling. rivers. Water Cycle (Hydrologic) -water is one of the most important substances for life. namely water.2 Gaseous Cycles a Let us first study some of the most important gaseous cycles. oxygen. is made up of 90 . occui-ring in lakes. On an average water constitutes 70% of the body weight of an organism. (i) 1. 1. lakes.which constitute 0.where the reservoir is the earth's crust. Cycling of all other elements is also dependent upon water as it provides their transportation during the various steps and it also is a solvent medium for their uptake by organisms.2 to 1 Chlorine Copper percent of dry organic Iron weight Magnesium Sulphur Sodium Potassium Micronutrients which occur in very miniscule amounts and constitute less than 0. Mucli of the remainder is frozen in the polar ice and glaciers.2 percent of diy organic weight. It is one of the important ecological factor. There are of two basic types of cycles. The oceans alone contain 97% of all the water dn earth. the physical basis of life. Most gaseous cycles are generally considered as perfect cycles. which determines the structure and function of the ecosystem. seas and oceans.8. These elements or mineral nutrients are always in circulation moving from non-living to living and then back to the non-living coinponents of the ecosystem in a more or less circular fashion. Human blood contains 90% of water.95% of water.1 Types of Nutrient Cycles A nutrient cycle may also be referred to as perfect or imperfect cycle.Environmental Concerns * Group IT Macronutrients ( Calcium . Carbon. In addition to these about 15 to 25 other elements are needed in some form for the survival and good health of plants and animals.where the reservoir is the atmosphere or the hydrosphere and (ii) Sedimentary Cycle . Water covers about 75% of the eartll's sulface. This is k~lown as biogeochemieal cycling (bio for living. and aquifers. carbon and nitrogen. depending on the nature of the reservoir: Gaseous Cycle . although not present in all species Aluminium Boron Bromine Zinc Cobalt Iodine Chromium Groups Element Main Reservoir Lithosphere ~ithosphere Lithosphere Lithosphere Lithosphere Lithosphere and Atmosphere Lithosphere Lithosphere Lithosphere Lithosphere Lithosphere Lithosphere Lithosphere Lithosphere ' Lithosphere - * Some of the second group of macronutrients may be n~icronutrients some for species and some of the micronutrients may be macronutrients for other species.8. A perfect nutrient cycle is one in which nutrients are replaced as fast as they are utilised.

035% rivers 0. This cycle is driven by solar energy in which about one third of all solar encrgy is dissipated on cycling about 10 x lo2' g of water. 1. 1. Majority of the world's supply of water is in the oceans.06% atmosphere 0. lakes.Why is Environment Important? ( Oceans 97. their turn over is too slow to be usable.0001 percent Fig. 1.02 percent Soil moisture 0.5 percent Rivers.21: The water or hydrological cycle depicting most of the major pathways of water movement through the ecosystem . Although ice sheets and glaciers hold a large amount of fresh water.01 percent Atmosphere 0. from land to oceans by n off. Total water Oceans 97% Fresh water 3% F h water m ice sheets and glaciers 75% ground water 25% lakes b. inland seas 0.21) is the movement of water fiom oceans to atmosphere by evaporation and from atmosphere to oceans and land by m precipitation in the fonn of rain or snow. which is nearly 0.6 percent and ghciers 1. The rest of the earth's water as you know already is time moving in t l ~ c in cold storage (in the form of glaciers and ice).03% Fig.004% of the total. rrom streams and rivers and subsurface ground water flow.396 soil moisture 0. and this is all the cycle.8699 percent [J ( Ground water 0.20: Global distribution of water. mean annual global precipitation of 100 units . The readily available fresh water is found as ground water in porous rock beds. The hydrologic cycle (Fig. Figures in diagram based on.but it does not depict the more recent pathways that have been created due to human activities . and from land to atmosphere by evaporation again.

while the oceans hold approximately 43. Carbon is returned to the environment about as fast as it: is removed. This sedimentary carbon eventually turns into sedimentary rocks such as lime stone and dolomite and may take a long time to be released. Carbon froin the atlliospheric pool moves to green plants. Fig. It may accumulate as undecomposed organic matter as in the peaty layers of bogs and moorlands or as insoluble carbonates (for exainple the insoluble calcium carbonate ((CaC03) of various sea shells) which accunlulate in bottom sediments in aquatic systems. Somc carbon however enters a long term cycle.5). but the fate of much of this carbon dioxide is yet to be traced. 1.22: (a) Generalized global carbon cycle.000 x 1012kg. Figure 1. from them directly to the atmosphere by process of respiratian at various trophic levels in the food chain or to bacteria. mainly in the form of carbon dioxide (C02). The carbon cycle The atmosphere contains about 740 x 1012kilogram (kg) of carbon. of which about 3 x 1012accumulates in the atmosphere. It is a minor constituent of the atmosphere as compared to oxygen and nitrogen (Refer again to table 1. Deforestation and burning of fossil fuels contribute about 1 x 1012and 5 x 1012kg annually. In deep oceans such carbon can remained buried for millions of years till geological movement may lift these rocks above sea level. and then to animals. Finally. It is the element that anchors all organic substances from coal and oil to DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid: the compound that carries genetic information). for it is vital for the production of carbohydrates through photosynthesis by plants and is the building block of life. Some of tile remaining 3 x 10" kg is dissolved into the oceans.22 illustrates the global carbon cycle. as you are well aware without carbon dioxide life could not exist. However. respectively. fungi and other micro-organisms that return it to atmosphere through decomposition of dead organic matter. .Environmental Concerns The Carbon Cycle Carbon is present in the atmosphere.

and living organism. As you can see from Figure 1. that is. before it can be taken up by plants. converted to ammonia.g. on the other. In agricultural ecosystem legumes of approximately 200 species are the pseeminent nitrogen fixers. Spirulina) symbiotic bacteria and blue green algae.000 species ranging from cyanobacteria to nodulebearing plants. Anabaelza. nitrites or nitrates. Nitrogen fixation on earth is accomplished in three different ways: (i) by certain free-living and as well as bluegreen algae (e. far exceeds the amount fixed by biological and atmospheric actions. This regulates atmosphere COz level to 0. When fossil fuels are burned the carbon stored in them is released back into the atmosphere as carbon-dioxide.23. carbonates and bicarbonates into steams and rivers: hard water has usually flowed throcgh lime stone at some point. bacteria (e. releasing their carbon dioxide. It constitutes nearly 16% by weight of all the proteins. massive deforestation and reduced productivity of the oceans due to pollution will be discussed in coming units. are also part of the carbon cycle which may release their carbon compounds after several of years. The carbon balance of the biosphere as a whole is moderated by exchange of COa between the atmosphere and oceans (which are the richest source of carbon today).g. There is an inexhaustible supply of nitrogen in the atmosphere but the elemental form cannot be used directly by most of the living organisms. and between the atmosphere and the sea. They have been emitting small quantities of nitrogen for centuries and contribute significantly to the nitrogen reservoir of the atmosphere. The oceans contain about 50 times more COz than the atmosphere. The symbiotic bacteria capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen live in the root nodules of leguminous plants like beans. At present. the amount fixed by man industrially. aerobic Azotobacter and anaerobic Clostridium) and symbiotic nitrifying bacteria living in association with leguininous plants and symbiotic bacteria living in nonleguminous root nodule plants (e. Rhizobium) as well as blue green algae (eg.the water is boiled.These rocks may be exposed to erosion. The immediate source of carbon dioxide for exchange in the oceans is restricted to surface layers of water. Ammonium ions can be directly taken up as a source of nitrogen by some plants. alfalfa etc. peas. Fossil fuels such as coals. ilitrogen at any time is tied up in different 'compartments' or 'pools' . Spirulina). soil and water. (ii) by man using industrial processes (fertilizer factories) and (iii) to a limited extent by atmospheric phenomenon such as thunder and lighting. In non-agricultural systems some 12. are responsible for nitrogen fixation. Nitrogen needs to be 'fixed'. These fossil h e l s are organic compounds that were buried before they could be decomposed and were subsequently transformed by time and geological processes into fossil fuels. Scientific concerns over the linked problems of increased atmospheric COz concentrations. are certain microorganisms capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium ions ( N H ~ These include freeliving nitrifying ~. however.032% despite photosynthetic uptake.the atmosphere. / 35 . Carbon cycle basically involves a continuous exchange of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and organisms on one hand. or are oxidized to nitrites or nitrates by two groups of specialised bacteria: Nitrosomonas bacteria promote Why is Environment Important? Volcanoes are also important sources of nitrogen. Anabaena. More importantly. The periodic thunderstorms convert the gaseous nitrogen in the atmosphere to ammonia and nitrates which eventually reach the earth's surface througl~ precipitation and then into the soil to be utilized by plants.g. picking up carbonates which they accumulate as 'fur' in kettles when . The Nitrogen Cycle Nitrogen is an essential constituent of protein which is a building block of all living tissue. oil and natural gas etc.

1.3 Sedimentary Cycle Phosphorus. volcanic activity and biological transport through the excreta of marine birds. This nitrogen escapes into the atmosphere.8. which are the building blocks of proteins. In the soil as well as oceans there are special denitrifyiilg bacteria (e. These then go through higher trophic levels of the ecosystem. The sulphur cycle is a good example for illustrating the linkage between air. Sulphur Cycle The sulphur cycle is mostly sedimentary except for a short gaseous phase. a brief account of this cycle is given. Certain quantity of soil'nitrates.Environmental Concerns transformation of ammonia into nitrite. The element involved in the sedimentary cycle normally does not cycle through the ahnosphere but follows a basic pattern of flow through erosion. sedimentation. water and the earth's crust. calcium and magnesium circulate by means of the sedimentary cycle. mountain building. 1. Fig. thus completing the cycle. Nitrite is then further transfoimed into nitrate by the bacteria Nitrobacter.23: Generalized nitrogen cycle. During excretion and upon the death of all organisms nitrogen is returned to the soil in the fomm of ammonia. and hence.g. Nitrogen has become a pollutant because of human intrusion into the natural cycle and this can disrupt the balance of nitrogen in the air. 1. which convert the nitrateslnitrites to elemental nitrogen. add a gaseous coillponent to its normally sedimentary cycle. (Fig.24) The large sulphur reservoir as mentioned before is in the soil and . The nihates synthesised by bacteria in the soil are taken up by plants and converted into amino acids. since two of its compounds hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and sulphur dioxide (SOz). are lost to the system by being transported away by surface run-off or ground water. Fseudomonas). Sulphur is to some extent intaymediate. being highly soluble in water.

sulphur in the f o m ~ sulphates. Sulphur enters the atmosphere fi-om several sources lilce volcanic eruptions. is thti:. erosional runoff and decomposition by bacteria and fungi of organic matter and is carried to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in salt solution. . Species of Beggiatoa oxidise hydrogen sulphide to elemental sulphur and species of Thiobacillus oxidise it to sulphate.24: The sulphur cycle showing the two reservoirs namely.sediments where it is locked in organic (coal.25. Sulphur bound in living organism is carried back to the soil. Atmospheric SO2 is carried back to the earth after being dissolved in rainwater as weak of sulphuric acid (H2S04). This can be been clearly in Fig. Atnlospheric hydrogen sulphide also gets oxidised into sulphur dioxide (SO2).1. Whatcver the source. wtll. You should also be aware that these cycles usually do not operate in independently but interact with each other at some point or the other. oil and peat) and inorganic rock) in the form of sulphates. You should bear in mind that the nutrient cycles discussed here are only a few of the many cycles present in the ecosystem. Major sources from human activity arc the burning of fossil fuels and acid drainage from coalmincs. to the bottom of ponds and lakes and seas through excrelion and deconlposition of dead organic material. sulphides and deposits (pyiite rock and sulphr~r organic sulphur. ( ~ 0 ~is'take) up by plants and incorporated through a series of metabolic ~ processes into sulphur bearing amino acid which is incorporated in the proteins of autotroph tissues. In anaerobic soils and sediments hydrogen sulphide is formed by sulphate reducing bacteria like Desulfavibrio. There are also green and purple sulphur photosynthetic bacteria that oxidise hj. {I Why is Environment Important? = oxidation m = mobilization im = immobilizatiog Fig. It then passes through the grazing food chain. combustion of fossil fuels. a small reservoir. Sulphur is found in gaseous forms like hy& *nsulphide and sulphur dioxide in small quantities in the atmosphere.1. Under aerobic conditions h n g i like Aspergillus and Neurospora and under anaerobic conditions the bacteria like Escherichia and Proteus are largely responsible for the decomposition of proteins. sedimentary and gaseous. It is released by weathering of rocks. from surface of ocean and from gases released by decomposition.drogen sulphide to elemental sulphur.

Environmental Concerns .

1 5. By looking at table 1. For example by looking at the table you can note that higher reproductive potential of a species increases its population while low reproductive potential decreases it. like birth and im~nigration and chose factol-sthat tend to decrease the number like death and emnimgration. 3.tend increase to the number of individuals in thal population. Population growth. The dominant subordinate relationships are more prominent when the choices for inates arises. by limiting the number of organisms of a species in a given area. The winner uses the territory and the losers have to leave. 1.9. 4..1. 9. These interactions take place not only among different individuals of the population of the same species intraspecific relation but also among individuals of different species in a community . when resources are not limited Population growth can be determined by looking at factors tl~at.6: Population growth depends on the net effect of all the given factors. individuals compete for the 'rights' over some poriions of their habitat.interspecific relations. Territoriality serves to diminish destructive competition for resources such as food or habitat etc. L potential Number of individuals capable of reproduction Food I-labitat Clirnale Irumigration Emigration Disease Predation Large nlentv Space available favourable high low Low Low small Scarce Space not available Hi fill high ---^. Reproductive Increase in Population High Decrease in Population Low 2. Let us see how intraspecific relalionships affect the population.e. ants and bees. 7. These factors in turn are the result of species characteristics and environmental conditions Factors I . 8.9 BIOTIC RELATIONS Why is Environment Important? The biological community is a complex network of interactions. Table 1. In a month this bacterial colony 39 . 6.1 Intraspecific Relations The interactions between members of the same species are known as intraspecific relations and these are frequently very strong varying from open conflict to gregariousness (social togetherness). Intraspecific relations are also expressed in pattern of hierarchy of species or dorninanl and subordinate relationship in the population. _ r Let us imagine [hat we select a single bacterium and allow all its descendents to grow hnd reprocluce without any restriction.6 you can see [he factor that increase or decrease the populations. Many species exhibit territoriality i. Extreme social organisation is found in the structure of colonies of insects like termites. Some species like inoose are quite solitary while some animal populations exhibit varying degrees of social organisation.

adverse climatic conditions and unsuitable habitats. Except under laboratory conditions. . I I All the limiting factors that reduce the growth rate of a population constitute environmental resistance. competition for resources. disease.27) . which in turn will affect population growth. the resulting growth curve is J shaped as shown in Figure 1. 1. This type of exponential growth occurs mly under conditions of unlimited resources. Population growth when resources are limited Fig. should maintain a steady state equilibrium. a species can produce offspring at the maximum rate. So what happens to the J-shaped curve that you have studied earlier due to limiting factors? You will see that it changes to S shape or to a sigmoid curve: (Fig. The carrying capacity is a concept related to sustainability.27). Population size is believed to level off at the carrying capacity (K) of the environment (Fig. This is called biotic potential. resources limitation shows its adverse effects on population by increasing death rates and decreasing birth rates and population density declines to a limit set by available resources in the habitat.26. a habitat cannot support any populatibn beyond a certain size. When carrying capacity is reached the11N = K and r yalue will be zero. food shortage. Population with a positive rate of natural increase grow large each year.Environmental Concerns would be larger than the visible universe and it would be expanding outwarc at the speed of light. It is usually defined as the maximum number of individuals of a species that can be sustained and supported b the environment in a given area. Thc expected increase (I) for a year can be calculated by multiplying the rate of natural increase (r) by the current population size (N) I=rN b 2. In other words. In unlimited resources a~ ideal environmental conditions. birth rate equal death rates and population .26: The J-shaped curve of population growth of a species. 1. However. there will be more competition for the available space and food. The maximum number of individuals of a population that its enviro~~ment support can and sustain is called the carrying capacity (K).1. However.13 dealing with human population. no population can expect find resources unlimited for population growth. I Species like bacteria and mice which can produce a large number of offspring in a short time have high biotic potential while larger species like elephants and humans that produce only a few offspring have a low biotic potential.d where r = N N = Number of individuals b = birth rate d = death rate This formula indicates that population growth is exponential: which mea that population size increases by an ever larger amount each year under favourable coliditions. These factors include predation. If the chief resources such as food and space are limited. When a graph is plotted for the populatioil size. We will discuss these conce in greater details in section 1. as the population increases in size. All populations have the potential for explosive growtl under optimal growth conditions because nearly all mature individuals can produce offspring. If the population goes beyoiid i limit.

9. out of which we will deal only a few namely Parasitism. Lichens are a well known example of mutualism. competition and predation L I. Because of host specificity many parasites can live in only one or a few related host species. Lichen consists of fungi and algae growing in close association with one i) Tapeworm and malarial parasite have become adapted to a totally parasitic life. is harmed.symbiotic relations. So we have to question ourselves as to whether we want our f~lture generation to live short lives in crowded surroundings without a chance to enjoy the Earth's scenery and diversity of life? Or do we hope that our descendants will have a life of high quality and good health? Once we choose a goal for the quality of life.symbiosis. The relation may be direct and close as bet*een a tiger and deer. Parasites generally have. 1s 1 to ~d 1ts When we are talking about carrying capacity it is'also important to talk about the carrying capacity of the earth. There are several types of symbiosis.:1. the cai~ying capacity depends in part on our value for the environment. and such intimate host . ii) Mutualism is a symbiotic relationship that is beneficial to both organisms. or indirect and remote as between an elephant and a beetle.27: The J-shaped curve is converted to an S-shaped curve when a population of encounters environmental resistance and tl~resl~old ally one of the limiting factors is exceeded. This is called a symbiotic relationship or.state-phase I I Why is Environmeot Important? Time Fig. They are often highly specialized in structure. 1.parasite interaction could be potentially limiting to both the population. For the parasite (which is much smaller in size) the host is a source of both food and shelter. otherwise its source of nourishment would be lost.higher teproductive rate and exhibits a greater host specificity. Parasitism is an interaction in which one species. i . For the human population. physiology and life history patterns. the host. namely the parasite benefits and the other. we can use scientific information to understand what the carrying capacity might be and how we might achieve it. A well adapted parasite does not kill its host. W e will be dealing with three main types of relationships namely .2 Interspecific Relations Interspecific relations involve more complex iiiteraction since the set of environmental factors influencing each of the interacting species !re often so different.Exponential Dynamic steady. Mutualism and Commensalism. SYMBIOTIC RELATIONS Y Some time two types of organisms have a permanent relationship in which at least one depends upon the other for survival. There are several interspecific relationships between different species.

it will eventually exclude the other species from tlhabitat. uncertain and unstable coexistence is possible. The presence of the remora does not benefit the shark but neither does it harm the shark. Resource limitation leading to competitil is implicit in Drawin's idea on struggle for existence and survival of the fitte What happens when two related species compete for the same resource? Thi outcome usually depends on how 'competitive' the species are. 1. named after the Soviet biologist G. when resources liE food. . equally strong competitors. Fig. 1. the outco~ne depends on the initial conditions. 11. are limited. Pi caudatum (a) and P. iii) Commensalism is a symbiotic relation in which one organism benefits z the other is unaffected. Thus these two organisins combine their functions by living together and both get enough food and water.aurelia (bold line) drove the other species (dotted lines) toward extinction. ar .F.'P. COMPETITION Competition occurs in nature usually. but not necessarily. An example of coinmensalism is that of the rcm fish and shark. Gause (Fig. The fungi can hold water but cannot produce their own food due to lack of chlorophyll while the algae cannot hold water but can produce their food when supplied with water. c time (days) . If one specic is competitively superior.Environmental Concerns another.28: Competition between two species of Paramecium. space. a small fish attaches itself to the under side of shark from where it feeds on leftovers from the shark's meals and gets f transport. There are several cxamples of mutualism of plants and animals in nature. mates etc. When grown separately. both could co-exist p. aurella (b) established stable populations (c) When grow ' together. Remora. both species are weak competitors. If however. a phenomenon referred to as 'Gause's Principle of Competitive Exclusion'. If both .28).eacefully indefinitely in the same habitat.

temperature. First let us consider the importance of predation in nature. humidity & other requirement.what is eats or decomposes & what species it competes with 3. Habitat niche .1. stay healthy and reproduce.29). land slope. No two species have exactly tlie same niches. If we have to conserve a species in its native habitat we should be knowledgeable about the niche requirements of the species and should ensure that all requirements of its niche are fulfilled. physical and chemical factors that a species needs to survive. 111. PREDATION This is an interaction in which one organism. Following are its important roles: . If two species (lid have identical niclies then coinpetition for the sanie food and living space would mean that one species would either die out or be driven away. the predator kills another. land shape. nanlely the prey for food. This is a process of paramount importance not only i n natural ecosystems but to man as well. that means no two species have exactly identical niches. ~eproductive'niche how and when it reproduces.29. Why is Environment Important? 1.where it lives 2. A niclie is unique for a species. because he is either directly a predator himself or has to deal with natural predators which ace directly harmfill to him or kill prey that are beneficial to him. 4. 1. So what is the niche of a species? A niche is the unique functional role or place of a species in an ecosystem (Fig. Niche play an important role in conservation of organisms. Food niche . Physical & chemical niche . d Fig. A niche is unique for a species. It is a description of all the biological.Gause's competitive exclusion principle states that two species having identical requirements cannot occupy the same 'niche' indefinitely.

Environmental Concerns 1) Predation helps to channelise the energy fixed by photosynthetic pi through different trophic levels. Th Ocean is an open system in regard to water. 1 110. . On a much larger scale. 4) Predators in some cases can regulate the population densities of thei Predation is obviously not beneficial to the individual organism that killed and eaten as food. due to starvation. result predators get more food & produce more offspring. This could resuli killing of every prey individual.closed in regard to some factor does not ex6 i . a city or a thermal' power plant. 3) Predators also appear to be responsible for maintaining high specie: diversity in many biological communities. which is op with respect to some factor. A single organism may be considered a system as may be a ri1 your office. HOMEOSTASIS In order to find solutions for environmental problems the understanding c systems and rates of change occurring in the systems illcluding the ecosy! is essential. more and more prey are killed. may be broadly defined as any part of the universe that car isolated for the purposes of observntipn and study.or may isolated in our minds or in a computer database. TI. " 44 At every level in environmental science we have to deal with a variety oP systems that may range from simple to complex and irrespective of how v approach environmental problems its is necessary that we have an understanding of the systems and of how various parts of the systems int with one another. Experimental removal o predators from a community has been known to lead to the eliminat some species and a general decline in species diversity. Let us see how these oscil occur in a habitat with plenty resources. prey numbers start increasing. Now due to low density of prey'ir size habitat the predators cannot obtain enough food and so their number star falling. which it exchanges with the. Some systems may physically isolated . I . exchanges that factor with other systems. These events lead to oscillation in densities of both prey and prec It is important to mention that the situation will turn out different if the predator is not prudent or is too efficient at killing prey. This permits the weaker speci persist in the habitat. A system that is. would subsequently lead to elimination of the predator as well. but could be very beneficial to the prey population as a whole. 2) Predators can bring down the intensity of interspecific competition community by selectively preying on the competitively superior spc and thus keeping their densities low.for example bacteria culture in a petri dish . the prey and predator populations show what are ca 6coupledoscillations' over a period of time. With increasin predator population in the habitat. In an ideal situation. Systems may be open or closed. In another way you can visualise a system as a set of components or parts that function together tc as a whole.1 System A system. driving the prey species to extinction. you already know that biosphere is also a system. A system. bringi~ down their populatiol~ eventually. atmosphere.

1. The feed mechanism provides environmental information to which a system responds. a special type of system response occurs when the output of the systemalso serves as input and leads to changes in the state of the system.2 Feedback Mechanism Systems respond to inputs and have outputs. We call such a norm . n tern act ~er . If by chance you ellcounter a snake. Our body for instance is a complex system.the change (input) and the body responds physiologically.that factor with other systems. Why is Environment Important? 1. Earth is an open system in regard to energy and a closed system (For all practical purposes) in regard to material.30).perhaps standing still or moving away from the snalte . All these systems in order to operate smoothly need to maintain their existing constant condition. ) I ract e Effectors I en hange Fig. Feedback.10. A classic example of feedback is temperature regulations in human (Fig. What keeps the system fairly constant is a feedback mechanism. whicll you think is poisonous.is an output. Our body reacts to the input. This capacity of a system to self regulates or self maintain itself is called homeostatis. In negative feedbadk the response inhibits or reverses any change from the normal. Negative feedback brings the system back to the set point. The adrenaline level in our blood rises. then the sight of the snake is an input. Stilnulus (input) :d Lions a tor. . 1. Our response .a set point: When the temperature of the environment rises the sensory mechanisms in the skin detect . The normal temperature for humans is 37°C.30: Negative and positive feedback mechanisms. Positive feedback leads to further change in the same direction. our heart rate increases and the hair on our body may rise. Positive feedback leads away from the set point and can damage the system.

which is the prime regulatory mechanism for the ecosystem as a whole. an increase in input leads to a further increa in output. This resilience is due to the fact that risk is spread more widely with the presence of many different species and the linkages between them. present. However. A feedback loop may be as a defined relationship in which a change in some original rate alters the rate of direction of further change. Negative feedback is generally desirable as it is stabilizing. Furthermore. the hungy inice retreat to their burrows and sleep. Thus all the organisms in an ecosystem are part of several of different feedback loops. High species diversity tends to increase long-term persistence of the ecosystem.usually leads t a system that remains in a constant condition. When this happens. The ecosystem as you must know by now is a dynamic system. Their behaviour protects their own population .3 Ecosystem Homeostasis Let us see how the feedback in an ecosystem helps to maintain homeostasis or balance. As a result their death rates decreases. B j doing so. Positive feedback often called vicious circle is destabilizing. . Species diversity . the body is unable to lose heat fast enough to maintain normal temperature. which is because when it gets too hot. their birth rates decreases. despite all these events the ecosystem persists anc recovers from minor disturbances due to homeostatis. and ha1 or reverses any deviation movement away from set point (an increase in temperature leads due to response a decrease in temperature). driving the system to higher and higher or lower and lower values is called positive feedback.in a given ecosystem accord the stability or persistence to the ecosystem under small or moderate environmental stress. In the case of positive feedback. raising body temperature until the person dies of heat stroke. You must be fully aware by now that in an ecosystem several kinds of organisms ar. which is species diversity.10. This is an example of negative feedbac since the systems response is in the opposite direction from the input. Now let us consider another important parameter of ecosystem balance. balance as well as that of the grasses. 1. like plants eaten by animals. induce sweating anc stimulate behavioural responses. which are not being eaten. The mice that feed on grass become malnourished due to lack of food. 1t. as a result of which the metabolism speeds ups.the number of different species and their relative abundance .Concerns A message is sent to brain. they require less food and are exposed less to predators. Thus you can see that the ecosystem has maintained its balance or ecological homeostasis as a result of negative feedback mechanism. Consider a grassland which has suffered from drought due to which plants do not grow well and which have a mice population. Water excreted through the skin evaporates cooling the body. which automatically relays the message to the receptors which enhances increase in blood flow to skin. while the mick hibernate (sleep). wher i a lot of events occur. Thus a situation in which feedback reinforces change. which in turn are eaten by other animals. For example if the enviro~lmental temperature bccomes extreme ar the body temperature keeps on increasing correspondingly the hoineostatic system of the body breaks down. Water and nutrients flow in and out of the system and the weather changes. The person may also respond behaviourally: as on feeling hot (input) he or she may move into the shade as a result of which the temperature would return to nolmal.

Com~n~~rlities for progressive change as part%of example. through time is known as community development or more traditionally as ecological succession.922). An environrner~t favoured that an organism earlier may over time becomes progressively less favourable to them and may become more favourable to other life forms. succession .where ecolbgical succession is the product of the organisms-themselves and (2) Allogenic. in an ecosystem endowed with complex food web.tlie chang'e. For example. However.or succession are of two kinds: (1) autogenic succession . Organisms that live in a given location may change [he environment by their very presence or activities. deforestation). E. plantation.where succcssion occurs due to outside Iorces particul.some inhabitants or species of the conhunity in an area. mutualism and cornpetition have been described earlier. on lhe basis of the force responsible for. an i ~ i eflow and a cycling of nutrients as described earlier. the inhabitants of a location are not h e same from one year . Thus one type of organism may make way for another. the loss or drastic reduction of one species does not threaten the existence of others. over exploitation (widespread mining.An ecosystem having several well-adjusted species has more ways available to d > :k ts se ld respond to most environmental stresses. change in response to climatic and geological forces as well as in response to the activities of their inhabitants. 1. pollution). planted with only one kind of crop (monoculturin'g) plant like wheat or rice is liigbly v'ulner'able to destruction from a single plant pathogen or pest.2 that a community is also called biotic community. so that we do not overload the ecosystem and disrupt its homeostasis. Ih contrast. the highly specialised ecosystem. biotic communities do exhibit their normal developmenl.11 COMMUNITY AND ECOLOGICAL SUCCESSION You will recall fro111subsection 1. crop fields) or extreme and prolonged stresses (like drought. It is essential that we sl~ould check and control our actions. (see subsection 1. The essence of the above discussion is that most balanced ecosystems contain many different types of species and that the presence of many types of or high species diversity imparts stability to the ecosystem. In extreme cases the homeostatic mechanism are overshadowed leading to ecosystem degradalion. It is a group of interacting populations living in a given area.to the next. Activity Discuss how monoculturing can cause disaster in Indian farming. ~he. In most . The organizational components of a biotic community seem to us for the most part to be static or suspended in time. It represents the living pait of an ecosystem and functions as a dynamic unit with trophic levels. r ~ ~ Some of the species interactions such as predator-p ey relationships. Why is Environment Important? r The ability of an ecosystem to cope with any disturbance or disruption is however limited and fails in cases of positive feedbacks like fires (destruction of landscape).orklerl~ process of change or replacement of.arly physical forces such as fire or flood which regularly affect change. In some cases even within n parlicular climate.coolgica1 succession. as Most con*sumershave alternative food supplies.5. excessive simplification (monoculture.

water-seeking fungal component anc thus forming the first community. I 1 . which can be used as a model s&winR development of primary successibn. Lichens are soil builders.) along with wheat imported from the USA (PL480) into India is a good example of opportunitic species. 1. water and minerals and will be succeeded by larger and . more nutrient demanding plants such as shrubs and trees. In time lichens that made the penetration of plant roots possible are no longer able ti compete for light.. humidity. mosses.Environmental Concerns cases. is formed and this is qalled climax . Allogenic succession is less predictable than autogenic succession. An example. Primary succession occurs where no community exists before. Seres of particular environments tend to follow similar successions and may therefore be classified according to environment for example. newly formed deltas. is the invasioil and colonisation of bare rock as on a recently created volcanic island. (Fig.31). For example. terrestrial habitat. The animals of such a community also exhibit succession.. topographic ! a features and so on. Often one population does not give up its place for the next gracefully..1 Succession in Terrestrial community I -A . larger plants. ' is also influenced by the types of animals that are able to migrate from neighbouring communities. succession is a result of both autogenic and allogenic factors although one or the other may have triggered the process. Lichens can invade and colonise such areas.11. Each succession stage or the series of sequential changes in its entirety is known as a sere and each sere is made LIP of a series of seral communities (seral stages). Ecological succession includes both (1) primary and (2) secondary succession. The climax community is the most productive commuility that' the environment can sustain. On the contrary species are often quite persistent and seemingly resist their own displacement. I I. 1. The community becomes self perpetuating and its appearance remains the same though there is constant replacement of individuals. but . community.3 1 illustrates the primary ecological succession in a. such as rocky outcropping. very appropriately often called the p i o ~ ~ community. sand dunes. soil cl~aracteristics. Fig. a hydrosere develops in an aauatic environment as a result of the colonisation of open water. Ultimately "the final stable and self perpetuating community which is in equilibrium with its environment". I . The accidental introduction of congress weed (Parthenium sp. A climax community has much less tendency than earlier successional communities to alter its environment in a manner injurious to itself.1. Primary succession sere thus begins with lichens. The nature of the climax is determined by environmenta1 I conditions such as temperature. such as grasses also get an opportunity to establish themselves and begin a new seral stage. producing weak acids that . emerging volcanic islands and lava flows. which to a large extent is governed by the plant succession. 1. and a halosere develops in a salt marsh. As organic products and sand particle accumulate in tiny fissures. by various methods of dispersal and gaining a foot hold by means of their tenacious. coming in. Trees and shrubs are unable to grow on barelrock due to insufficieilt soil. 1 I A climax community is more complex and is dominated by a few species that came Iate in the succession. very gradually erode the rock surface. the sudden bloom of unexpected opportunistic species such as weeds often interrupts an orderly progression of species during succession.

1. or a forest community that has been subjected to 'forest clearing' or a mining area that has been reclaimed (Fig. Fig. 1. climax forest community emerges. It has been estimated that succession from sand dune to climax' forest community on the shores of Lake Michigan took about a thousand years. sucli as previously burned or neglected farms reverting to the wild. birch and white spruce community . even when the climate is constant. It will change rapidly however. Pioneering lichens and mosses begin the soil-building process. this does not mean that a climax community is static.31: The orderly series of species replacement during succession can be seen in this sequence of plants from a bare rock outcropping to a fir-birch-spruce community.32: A community formed through secondary su&:'ession subsequent to the area being reclaimed after limestone mining. But once soil formation has begun. the process usually accd~erates: Succession in other types of habitat may be slow.. black spruce Why is Environment Important? though succession ends with the establishment of a climax community. Fig. followed by the invasion of increasingly larger plants until a more stable longlived. Secondary succession occurs where a community has been disrupted.1. if the community is disturbed in some way. . 2. It does change though slowly.The succession on bare rock out croppings is initially an extremely slow process with a sere often lasting hundreds of years or more. A.32). Fir.

. Such a transition ma7 take well over 100 years.1 1. Secondary succession said to occur when the'surface is completely or largely denuded of vegetation but has already been influenced by living organisms and has i organic component: I11 such areas seeds.33). Unless this progress is interrupted.Environmental Concerns Secondary succession in grassland communities is much faster. 1. the sediments increase and the depth decreases. the initial invader species are eventually replaced by plants froin surrounding communities. Fig. 1. which extend further and further into the water body. but the deficiency of any of the essential nutrient rnay reverse the trend. Finally there i general blending with the surrounding community. growing trees appear and may block the sunlight and so a new generatior shade -tolerant shiubs emerge below the canopy of trees. the water body will be transformed into a marsh and . Larger. As the commul~ity development in a fresh water body progresses. but the seres occur at a more rapid pace. Succession in Aquatic Habitat Aquatic habitats also undergo community development or succession althou such changes may be held in check by shortages of nutrients. spores and plant propagates. followed b. of suirounding areas are major factors influencing the types of plants and animal entering the succession through chance dispersal and migration. I increasing numbers of water tolerant shore plants (Fig. The shores are crowded by littort zone plants. fragile disturbed tundra may require many hundreds of years to recover.2 Lakes and ponds rich in nutrients and high in productivity are called eutrophic (true foods). taking 20 to 40 years while on the other hand.1. In both primary and secondary succession the flora and fauna. while those with limited nutrient supply and little productivity are termed oligotrophic. the basic features are similar to those of primar succession. In secoi1dar-y succession. Eutrophication means changes brought about by increase in nutrients carried by strean and runoff from the land. depending on the cornn?unity.33: Succession in a pond. if it ever does. su as rhizomes may be present in the ground and thus influence the successi As'secondary succession progresses. The general trend in fresh water bodies is towards increased eutrophication E thus increased community growtll. fa. This is possible because the soil is already fonned and available. Succession in ponds and lakes take place as a result of eutrophication.

44. and t = time. -" Emigration is the entry of people into a city or couiltry and this also affects the population.. members die du to various causes. such as those who are dependent on others for support. and is usually expressed as the number of births per year per thousand persons in the population. or those who can do productive work. In a population. Mortality refers to death rate of individuals. accidents and old age.12. in which each horizqntal b a r represents a particular age group of thc population. the number (percentage) of males and females in each age group. to the population count. A histogram can tell us a n~rmber things such as: of 1) The Age structure of the population i. The natality rate of the population is expressed by L where B = birth or natality rate Nn = number of newboi-ns. Thus in order to take account of the movement of people in calculatiilg population growth. and tlie saille is shown for female on the right. at the current growth rates. The length of the bar on the left tells us the number of percentage of male (of the total population) in this age group. . and 4) The likely growth of the population in'the next few decades. 1. such as malnutrition.34) is a bar graph.e. 2) The sex composition i. In some countries migration is large enough to have a significant effect on the growth rate. The growth rate of the population can be zero or positive but neve negative. disease. we must add the ne$ migration (which is negative if emigration is greater than migration). Only international inigration can affcct the growth of population within a countly. drawn for a particular y2ear.is an expression of the production of new individual in the population. from which we can also tell the number of females in the reproductive ages 15 . Mortality is also expressed as death per year per thousand persons in the population. the percentage of the population in a significant age group.e. where d = mortality or death rate D = total number i f death and t = time Migration is the niovement of people to new hoines either within tlie boundaries of a countly (internal migration) or across the boundaries to anothe country (international migration). 3) The impact of growth and changes in the population over several decades in the recent past.2 Population Histograms A population histogram (Fig.Environmental Concerns Natality . 1. In human population natality is equivalent to the birth rate.

e Expansive Rapid growth : Kenya Constructive Slow growtlr : United States Near stationary Decline in growth : Austria Year of birth.In this type of histogram the base is smaller (constrictive).3 j Types of Histogram Why is Environment Important? :r Expansive histogram .5 billion by 2025. ' the reproductive years this will result in more children than the parents. China did not achieve its goal of stabilizing population at 1. Percentage of population Percentage of population Perdentage gf population Pig. As you can see in Fig.1. this does not mean that the population in the United States'is not growing. there are fewer children being born in each 5 year group than before. hence the name stationary. 1. (Fig. This means that for inany years the average family size has just been sulficient to replace itself. Instead.12.34: Population histograms for Kenya. Such a population is not growing at all. 1. it grew to 1. As this bulge passes through. It is typical for the developing countries. 53 .1.In this type of histogram (Fig. the United States and Austria .The population histograin with an expanding base is . whose populations are growing very rapidly. 1.couple policy was enforced during early 1980's.34 bywhich depicts a population constrictive histogram of USA. However. called an expailsive histogram.per . Thus even if China's one child . Stationary histogram .2 billion in the year 2000. You can see a definite bulge during the year 5065 during which period there was a 'baby boon^'.34a) Constrictive histogram .34 c) each bar is not very different till we come to the age groups (over 75 years) where death rates are significant.3 billion in 2000 and will inevitably increase to about 1.

These changes have been greatly responsible for a dramatic increase in human population.ly. Ea year India is adding 18 million people (roughly another Australia).6% of the world population. India's population passed one billion mark. the fastest population growth i. The global earth population crossed 6 billion mark in September 1999. and the atmosphere and take steps to minimize the damah that has already taken place. but there are doubts as to whether the natur resource base will support such growth. several developments have dramatically reduced infant and child mortality throughout the world. etc. becoming tht world's most populated countiy. During the same period. high yic hybrid varieties of wheat. biodiversity. On sunday August 15.4 Population of India India next only to China is one of the most populated countries in the wo Although India occupies only 2. the answer i We are maintaining our present population of 6 billion oilly by rapid depletio our resources: ground water. The question arises can we build a "sustainable society"? For an answer in th affirmative we have to make profound changes on a global level.12. Now is the time to tackle serious problems because to delay will have dire consequences. Try to find out the population data of your city/village/State for at least past 3 . It seems clear that in the next century. it will overtake China by 2045. Duri! this decade it will increase by another billion.N. the earth will have to support twice as many humans as it does today. Especially since 1960. r . fossil fuels. a rate of increase unlcnow~~ il previous history. Activity years and t y to plot a graph. If India coiltinues on the demographic path as projected.borne malaria.Environmental Concerns 1. topsoil. approxiniately 40 per cent of the earth's photosyntlietit productivity is used or influenced by human activities. demographers project that by 2050 it will have added another 530 millioil people for a total of more than 1. Thus we will have to the consequences of over population and degradation o r our environment.12. National Academy of Sciences and the British Royal Society finds that population is growing at a rate that will lead to doubling by 2050.4% of the total area of the world it suppc over 15. (The u of DDT to eliminate the mosquito . history. about 87 million people are added to the world. Evely year. A recent joint statenlent by t U. fossil fuel: clean air.2 children (replacement level fertility) in the next 33 years its cun population would continue to grow until it reaches two billion by 2100. Demographers estimate that even if India could reduce its average family s to 2.5 billion. U. Make your inferences by observing the graph. tropical forests.S. every day a quarter of a million are added. as revealed by statistics. It was only 2 billion in 1930. Every second about three people are added to the world. the "Green Revolution" has greatly boosted food output through the cultivation of new disease resistant. childhood immunizations and antibiotics). 1999.5 Future of Human Population: Where Are We today? Global population has quadrupled in 100 years. - 1. Can our planet do this? Cleai. We have to develop international policies to regulate critical resources such as fresh wate forests. Today.

urbanisation and technological activities. Bryant and are as follows: e We have already transfonned or degraded 39 . Radiations are going to affect who ever comes on their route. Worldwide spread of non-radioactive toxic chemicals. It is our constitutional obligation to care for the erlvironment and have sustainable development.13. These details and data of damage to the environment have been provided by 'peter J. 0 The direct effects of rapid increases in human population. CONSTITUTIONAL OBLIGATIONS OF A CITIZEN ize :nt In the later part of this course you will learn about the laws or legislations pertaining to the environment..2 I Responsibilities and Duties of a Citizen r. the fact is that enviroilment knows no boundaries. In case of a nuclear disaster. The long term impacts of apparently short . This question can be debated long. Also suggest ways to reduce the population as we are seeing high population growth rate in India and we need sustainable development. 0 Environmental effects of thermonuclear war. 3 I . all the cities lying in low areas of the world will get flooded. 1 se Id 1. So the environment is our's not his or her's. 1g 1 I1e s no. 0 Radioactive wastes from nuclear power plants.ld. If the snow melts from polar caps.e Before reading about responsibilities and duties you should know about the extent of major damage to the environnlent due to human activities.1 Obligation to the Puture The most important question that comes to our mind is what do we owe to our 'future generations'? These questions have beconle Inore relevant because we know that modem technology is affecting the environment in ways that will last hundred and thousand years.13. 0. This is more important because Nature does not have rights. lrts 2t l What is the shape of curve and why it is so? Has the population gone up or down during these years? Identify the factors responsible for the population level. -- Why is Euvironment Important? 1 11 . We have national and international laws on environment. n of '7 face 1. However. The particular coilcerns are: Long-term climatic change resulting from land-use changes. .50% of earth's land surface (agriculture as well as urban) Biodiversity and conservation . It is time now to think about nature seriously and carefully and this can probably be done through Environmental Ethics. * The destruction of forests and fertile agricultural soils. Bryant.A Hypertext Book by Peter J. deadly radiations are bound to travel as much as the climate permits as radiations do not know boundaries of citylstate/countiy/continent or direction.term technological benefits. such as the iinpact on natural systenls caused by rapid advances in genetic engineering. Discuss the factors you think are responsible for growth or downfall of population growth.

planting of nitrogen-fixing crops. Living components are called bio components while non-living coinponents are called abiotic coinponen The biosphere is that region of water. It sustains two processes. nutrients etc.oductivity of the oceans (25% from upw areas and 35% from temperate continental shelf'areas). nitrogen from fossil fuels into the atmosphere). due to a large numbel people. the result of the growing number of hunlan beings or earth. We have increased atmospheric COz concentration by 30%. release of re. Ecosystems are conside functional units of nature having no specific size or limits. T other portion of the biosphere is the aquatic zone. atmosphere and where life systems exist. We hope that after reading this course you would participate in the efforts designed to address the environmental issues. summed over. the cycling of chemical elemen and flow of energy. People should help themselves rather than lookii~g towards authority for answers and solutions. They have evolved effective hoineostatic mechanism for self regulation through feedback. There are a wide ran environmental issues so it becomes confusing as to: in which of the many environmental issues one should participate. rainfall. As we have explained. About 22% of marine fisheries have been overexploited or depleted. Individuals can become involved in improving the environmen which encoinpasses a wide range of approaches. We use more than half of the accessible fresh water sources. About 20% of bird species have become extinct in the past 200 1 almost all of them because of human activity. more are at the limit of exploitation c These problems seem to be too difficult to be solved but there should be s initiation. It is self-regulatory based on feedback infoiemation given by its living and non-living components. temperature. This means individual actions. At its most bat an ecosystem is fonned of a variety of individual organisms both plant! and animals which interact with each other and with their physical environment. The major terrestrial regions a called biomes. Within the biosphere there are several major regions containing specific types of ecosystems. earth. more than half of plant species have been introducl humans. which are characterised by their dominant vegetation. The abiotic components of the ecosystem consist of physical factors su as light. The biotic componei the ecosystem consists of autotrophs or producers and heterotrophs or I . Over 50% of terrestrial nitrogen fixation is caused by huinan activit~ of nitrogen fertilizer. We think one n~ust attend to i problem that has the most personal meaning and then try to find solutions. On many islands. water. on continental areas the fraction is 20% or more. can have great influence on the environment. you will study in coming units that environineiltal problems are in part.14 LET US SUM UP - * Environment is the sum total of living and non-living components that suqound and influence an organism. whi challenge us today.Environmental Concerns e e e a e e We use 8% of the primary pl. An ecosystem is the simplest entity that can sustain life. Ecosystems highly dynamic entities. 3.

As a result of this all living systellls need a continuous supply of energy. Ecosystenl succession occurs when a series of commiinities replace one another. The flow of energy through the ecosystem is gt one-way process or is unidirectional. Trophic relationships of an ecosystem can bc represented graphically in the form of ecological pyramids. which depicts the pattern of food consumption in an ecosystem. The base of the pyramid represents the producers and the successive tiers represent the subsequent highcr trophic levels. The pattern of interaction between living things are at1important dimensioil in an ecosystem and include intraspecific relations . These organisms belong to different trophic levels. The loss of energy at each trophic level limits the number of trophic levels in a food chain to four or five. The final stage of succession. Ecological pyramids are of three types: (i) pyranlid of number depicting the number of individual organisms at each trophic level. . The nutrients in an ecosystem are continuously cycled and recycled. (ji) pyramid of biomass . The first plants to colonise an area are called pioneer community. Two main types of food chain can be distinguished namely grazing and detritus food chain. Key cycles described in the unit are water. are . Nutrients essential to organisms are distributed in various chemical forms in air (atmosphereJ. Over timd elements move from one sphere to another in biogeocllemical cycles. water (hydrospl~ere) and living beings. while changes brought about by outside forces is called allogenic succession. First Law of thermodynamic states that energy cannot be created or destroyed while the second Law says that as energy is used to do wor.k.interactions between members of same species and inter specific relations -interactions between members of different species. Soil microorganisnls play a key role in cycling of elements. In general some chemical element may cycle quickly compared to others. oxygen. Trophic levels tell us how far the organism is removed from the plant in its level of nourishment and which organisms share the same general source of nutrition. When succession is brought about naturally by the living inhabitants. soil or rock (lithospherc). nitrogen and sulphur. Nondegradable pollutants often accumulate (bioaccun~ulation) magnify <and (biomagnification) at each trophic level in the food chain and inay become lethal when compared to the amount initially introduced into the biosphere. The flow of energy is governed by the two laws of thermodynamics. The sequence of organisms through which the energy flows is known as food chain. particularly nitrogen and sulphur. Each community changes the environment to make conditions favourable for a subsequent community and unfavourable for itself till the climax comnlunity is established.showing the amount of energy utilised at successive trophic levkls. Sun is the main source of energy needed for functioning of an ecosystem. Why is Environment Important? . le ic. Biogeocheinical cycles that include a gaseous phase in the atmosphere tend to have more rapid recycling than those that do not. carbon. which is quite stable. the process is called autogenic succession. Several intersecting food chains form a food'web. The stages leading to clifnax community are called successional stages or seres. is called the climax community.0 (use ctive ears. consumers and decomposers. some energy is wasted as heat at each transformation.representing total weight of living organisms at each trophic level and (iii) pyramid of energy .

Huinan Environnient . Lissa Rolundo. depletion of resources.colostate. It has now back being growing is an explosive manner. The future lies in slowing down population growth rapidly enough to ensure a smooth demographic transition in the developing countries.James E. Population histogra~ns helpful in showing tlie recent are history of a population as well as its sI101.Sandra S.? L~'~oI ~ ~IsI~I:c ~~ ~ o c) I/ 17. Population Council/Asia-India. Environmental 'Science .15 1.Eugene P.ueop~ea11~~1~~net~nell~I0~. due to rap.W. 12. Smith. Biology . 14. Biology an Exploration of Life . Daniel D.edu/-sus~ain/. Stout. 2.Ruth Bernstein & Stephen Bernstein 7. The future of human population with current trends is bleak. Slandwd Grade Biology . Kormondy. large-scale disasters inay occur. ~ ~ ~ . ~ ~ ~ ~ : / / \ \ ~ w w . FURTHER READING . 6. Edward J. 13.uci.edu 16. Elements of Ecology . Taylor. D. .bio. 5. Daniel Botkin and Edward Keller. Keeton. Odum. Wallace Jack L. McLaren. We distinguish three types of histogram: expansive. Human populations have specific characteristics such as density. constrictive and station. Biology Today Vo12 . 9. age str-uctui-e. L - --- 3.Earth is a living planet. Population and human developluent . G.A framework for decision making. Human population Growth li'lt~~:/Idarwin. 11. Chiras.Block. 8. Gottfr-ied 3.Carol H. King Gerald P.1 (AHE-01).Environmental Concerns e e i k e Human population throughout history has been quite small but has been increasing since the onset of the industrial revolution. Democracy. 15.James Tol~aracc 19.the key connect~ons l1tlp://www. 4. NPO Green. fail which. INDIA: Quantitative Fi-eedom. Sanders. Basic Ecology .biotic polential dispersal or migration and growlh rate. Biological Science. Mc Fadden and WilIian~ T.t-termgrowth trends.Robert A. Heath Biology .trini ty. Concepts of Ecology. 18. natalit and mortalily. Environmental Science .edulinkearIlcle~1iogr~i~~~1it1nl. Demography http:/lwww. J . Biology the Science of Life . Progress inalaiva@cs..Robert Leo Smith and Tliomas M. 10. over crowding and destruction of the ecosystem.

--j:. iiletal I. Our industrial and technological development has surpassed the rate at which thesc resources are being used.cign ~:uuntrittsso as tcr earn foreign cwcncy to meet out other necessi~ies. it is our prime concern to use our natural treasures wisely and judiciously.lti. It is significant to lllentivll here thal. This is partly because of the tre~ncndous population and partly there is lack of realisation on our part that these resources are limited and will be exhausted one day....4 Optimum Resource Potential and Utilisation Waste Recycling Land Use Utilisation of Forest Resources Conservation and Efficient Use of Water Resources Conservation of Mineral Resources 2.< .of this metal are exhausted.ies which are now called dc\.:xha~stt:i:. nature has given to us as these are essential for survival and future development. to Sol.6 Let Us Sum Up 2.s extrcmel. For e.1 INTRODUCTION In the previous unit you have studied what constitutes your environment and how ecosystem supports myriad living organisms including human beings. for electl-o~lic wz are not able to make much use of this precirpus metal due to low level of technological developlnent in our country.1 Introduction Objectives 2.5 Activities 2.:c~.UNIT 2 Structure NATURAL RESOURCES 2. The usefill and is used for a variety of pilrposcs Jlkzmaking chdrni~lrn ~ b foi r s watches c:: ?LS nf .at. it is believed that thd resources are being used increase in our indiscriminately.eloped countries. may sell it at an exorbitailt price when 111. the resources of some of thc countries have bcen exported as raw material to dominant 01. Therefore..Y nuclear reactors and cadmium-silver cell:. c inay bc f ~ ~ r c e dimport it at m~iclx to higl~er cu::t Some countries which are im?ortilig this rneta. ma. : i ~ x k :litlg it and t h y . There is another reason to conserve and safeguard our natural resources as their' supply is not unlimited and in fact some of the resources occur only in scant 59 . for centuries.3 Resource Scarcity and Degradation 2. The poor countries still have to cxpor( sonlc precious mineral.~.L.developed countries.7 Further Reading 2. However. Our demand on natural resources is rapidly increasing.2 Resource Availability and Potential Air Water Forest Resources Biological Resources (Biodiversity) Food Resources Land Mineral Resources Energy: Non-conventional Renewable Sources of Energy ing 2. a silvury mctal.: co ti~c same coui.:. .!G~.uamyle wrc arc now-a-days exporting cadmium. If tonlorrow ou: min!2ral resel-ires. In the present unit we shall discuss the resourcks or the wealth. You have also understood the importance of environment.

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