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Most of the major challenges in the environmental sciences (and management) require

multidisciplinary 1 solutions. The environment may be conceptualized in biological, chemical,

physical, or social scientific terms, and important research endeavors arise from all these fields. New
training, new organization, and new funding are needed to bring together multidisciplinary teams that
can undertake research aimed at understanding the following:

How natural systems 2 work.

How human activities and other influences perturb these systems.

What causes these perturbations.

How changes in one system affect other systems and human well-being.

How the knowledge needed to make well-informed choices about means of

transforming or restoring environmental systems can be developed.
Natural systemsecosystems; oceans; drainage basins, including agricultural systems; the
atmosphere; and so onare not divided along disciplinary lines; understanding any one of them
requires expertise that cuts across several disciplines. For example, oceanic circulation patterns
influence and are influenced by atmospheric circulation patterns, rainfall patterns, the topography of
the ocean floor, temperature, and the chemistry of water, among other factors. Terrestrial ecosystems
are affected by land use, land cover, and the climate system, as well as by the chemistry and biology
of their constituent environments; while species within ecosystems are affected by physical-chemical
inputs, population genetics, and interactions with other species, including humans. And because so
many physical, chemical, and biological processes are strongly affected by and affect human
activities, understanding those activities, including the development and use of technology, is integral
to the environmental sciences. Thus environmental sciences include branches of social sciences and
engineering just as they include branches of biological and physical sciences. For the environmental
sciences to build the knowledge base they need, these disparate fields need to cooperate and
Making science useful for environmental management is equally complex, requiring a sound
scientific and multidisciplinary understanding. Finding effective ways for scientists in a variety of
disciplines to work together and to communicate with managers and governments is of great
importance both for advancing scientific understanding and for making that understanding useful. It
has often been difficult, however, to achieve the needed multidisciplinary collaboration, let alone
interdisciplinary integration. The need to do so runs as a theme throughout this report and is implicit
in the committee's recommendations.

Importance and Multidisciplinary Nature of Environmental Studies!

Environment belongs to all the lining beings and thus is, important for all. Each and every
body of whatever occupation he or she may have is affected by environmental issues like
global warming, depletion of ozone layer, dwindling forest, energy resources, loss of
global biodiversity etc..

Environment study deals with the analysis of the processes in water, air, land, soil and
organisms which leads to pollute or degrade environment. It helps us for establishing
standard, for safe, clean and healthy natural ecosystem. It also deals with important
issues like safe and clean drinking water, hygienic living conditions and clean and fresh
air, fertility of land, healthy food and development.
Multidisciplinary Nature of Environmental Studies:
Because, the environment is complex and actually made up of many different
environments, including natural, constructed and cultural environments, environmental
studies is the inter disciplinary examination of how biology, geology, politics policy studies,
law, geology, religion engineering, chemistry and economics combine to inform the
consideration of humanitys effects on the natural world.
This subject educates the students to appreciate the complexity of environmental issues
and citizens and experts in many fields. By studying environmental science, students may
develop a breadth of the interdisciplinary and methodological knowledge in the
environmental fields that enables them to facilitate the definition and solution of
environmental problems.
It is essentially a multidisciplinary approach and its components include Biology, Geology,
Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Sociology, Health Sciences, Anthropology, Economics,
Statistics and Philosophy. It is essentially a multidisciplinary approach.
An Understanding of the working of the environment requires the knowledge from wide
ranging fields. The Table below shows a list of topics dealt commonly in air pollution and
the related traditional fields of knowledge illustrating the interdisciplinary nature of the
Table 1.1. Interdisciplinary Nature of Environmental Science:
Ex: Air Pollution:

Major subject/ Topic knowledge required

Nature and reaction of air


Chemistry and Chemical engineering

Effects of air pollutants on

human beings, animal and

Zoology and botany and various branches of life science.

Physics and Chemistry

Effect of air pollutants on


Meteorology, Thermodynamics, Geography

Effect of climate on air


Mathematical modeling, etc.

Air pollution control devices Physics, chemistry and various branches of Engineering
History of air pollution and air
pollution episodes
Economic impacts of air

Economics, Demography

Sociological impacts of air



Alternative fuels

Various branches of physical sciences

Conservation of resources
and pollution control

Various branches of physical and political sciences

Ozone hole and global


Almost all fields under the sun has got something to

contribute to the understanding and prevention of these

The science of Environment studies is a multidisciplinary science because it depends on

various disciplines like chemistry, physics, medical science, etc. It is the science of
physical phenomena in the environment. It is inherently a multidisciplinary field that
draws upon not only its core scientific areas, but also applies knowledge from other nonscientific studies such as economic, law and social science.

1. Physics:

To understand the flux of material and energy interaction.

To construct mathematical models of environment.

2. Chemistry:

To understand the molecular interactions in the system.

3. Biology:

To describe the effects within the plant and animal kingdom and their diversity.

4. Atmospheric Science:

To examine the phenomenology of the Earth's gaseous outer layer with emphasis
upon interrelation to other systems.
It comprises meteorological studies, greenhouse gas phenomena, airborne
contaminants, sound propagation phenomena related to noise pollution, and even
light pollution.

5. Ecology:

To analyse the dynamics among an interrelated set of populations, or a population

and some aspects of its environment.
These studies could endangered species, predator interactions, effects upon
populations by environmental contaminants, or impact analysis of proposed land
development upon species viability.

6. Environmental Chemistry:

To study the chemical alterations in the environment.

Principal areas of study include soil contamination and water pollution.
The topics of analysis involve chemical degradation in the environment, multiphase transport of chemicals and chemical effects upon biota.

7. Geo-science:

It includes environmental geology, environmental soil science, volcanic

phenomena and evolution of the earth's crust.
In some classification systems, it can also embrace hydrology including

8. Mathematics and Computer Science:

It will help in environmental modeling and analysis of environment related data.

9. Economics:

It deals with economical aspects of various components of environment.

10. Law:

It helps in framing of environment related laws, Acts, rules and their monitoring.

11. Social Science:

It helps in dealing with population and health related issues.