UNIT 1
Structure

WHY IS ENVIRONMENT IMPORTANT?
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1.1 1.2 1.3

Introduction
Objectives

What is Environment?
Concept of Environnlent

Biosphere
Divisions of Biosphere Atmosphere Hydrosphere Lithosphere

1.4

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

1.8

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

1.9

Biotic Relations
Intraspecific Relations Interspecific Relations

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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 .

INTRODUCTION

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.

Objectives
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?

I

1.2

WHAT IS ENVIRONMENT?

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

1.2.1
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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
9

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'.

1.3

BIOSPHERE

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

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. the highest mountains and the deepest oceans.4). or about 9. 1. Fig.3: Idealised scheme of the biosphere. The energy required for the life within the biosphere comes from the sun without which the biosphere will collapse. Biosphere is that part. shows the idealised scheme of biosphere in relation to hydrosphere. mostly. Living organisms are. 1. . atmosphere and lithosphere. The area of contact and interaction between these three components is really important for life. . and hence represent only dormant life. It is a narrow layer around the surface of the earth. I f you visualise the earth to be the size of an apple the biosphere would b~ as thick as its skin. 1. Occasionally spores of fungi and bacteria do occur at great height beyond 9. Its most d e n ~ e l ~ .5 km. like photosynthesis and respiration occur. water and atmosphere in which many smaller ecosystems exist and operate. confined to the parts of biosphere that receive solar radiation during the day. . As you can see in (Fig.000 feet) above sea level as shohn in (Fig.000 inetres below the surface of the earth to the top of the highest mountnins. ~ o ~ u region is just above and below the sea lated level.000 mctres (20. Fig.000 metres above the sea level. since existing conditions there do not support life.Before we explain the functioning of the components of the ecosystem let us first discuss the larger unit of natural landscape the biosphere. Why is Environment Important? 1.000 metres. (land) 2) hydrosphere (water). and 3) atmosphere (air) or the gaseous envelope of the earth which extends upto a height of 22.3:l Divisions of Biosphere Biosphere is that part of the ealth where life can exist. The nutrients necessary for living organisms come from air. $+ 'Life in the biosphere is abundant between 200 metres (660 feet) below the sutface of the ocean and about 6.4) the biosphere extends from the floor of the ocean some 11. Living Biosphere is absent at extremes of the North and South poles. of the earth. as it is here that the entire life is confined and the basic processes of life. Three main subdivisions of the biosphere are: 1) lithosphere. 1.3. but they are not metabolically active. water and soil and not from outside and the same" nutrients are recycled over and over again for life to continue.

Environmental Concerns organisms are not uniformly distributed throughout the biosphere. Nitrous oxide Xenon Ozone 0.000009 0. excluding water vapour. which highligG the importance of atniosphere. namely carbon dioxide6 oxygen and nitrogen. rare. Life at the extremes is however. Life exists from the highest mountain peaks to the depths of the ocean.000007 . Table 1. shows the composition of the atmosphere.4: Vertical dimensions of the biosphere.l.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. Fig.2.00005 0.important gases.'Only a few organisms live in the polar regions.2: T h e relative proportions of gases in the lower atmosphere ' (below 80 kilometres). In this section we will discuss about the metabolic role of a few .3. 1. Table 1. Most organisms are limited to a narrow region depicted here between 6000 metres above sea level and 200 metres below sea level. while the tropical rain forests possess an exceedingly rich diversity of plants and animals.

Animals breathe out carbon dioxide. only after decomposition of the living matter. which is essential for respiration. They do so by the process of photosynthesis.respiration cycle. Chemosynthetic bacteria are also producers. in the presence of sunlight to produce organic substances or food such as glucose (a vital molecule in living things) and oxygen. The carbon and oxygen supplied by carbon dioxide remain in living matter until death and the C 0 2 returns to the atmosphere.5.5: The linkage between carbon dioxide and oxygeli cycle. They use hydrogen sulphide. In this process they use atmospheric carbon dioxide along with water and some minerals such as calcium.Carbon Dioxide You must be aware that chlorophyll bearing organisms namely green plants. unlike plants these bacteria which occur in deep ocean trenches where sun energy is absent. to complete the cycle as you can see in Fig. Respiration atid photosynthesis. potassium. 1. together form a cycle called photosynthesis . enters the living world through respiration. (Refer further to carbon cycle in subsection 1.2 as well) Why is Environment ~rnportant? Carbon dioxide enters the living world as the. an important constituent of the atmosphere. Oxygen Oxygen. This oxygen is available to animals for process of the cellular respiration. i Fig. 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.(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 . as you can see in Fig. green and purple bacteria and blue green algae are the only biological or biotic members in nature which manufacture their own food. some carbon dioxide is released from decomposition of dead organisms. basic constituent of all organic compounds. Food or nutrient is not only a source of energy but is also used to build up the organisms' bodies. magnesium etc.8. derive energy by the process of 'chemosysthesis'. This cycle can be depicted as follows: 6C02 + 6 H z 0+ minerals (carbon dioxide) -I. which is a familiar process in both plants and animals including humans. However.1. Plants use carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and give off oxygen. instead of sun.5. as the energy source.1.

zinc and probably chlorine. cobalt. No two biomes are . nucleic acids. 1.2 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.type. hydrogen and nitrogen occur in the lithosphere and the organism requires them as well.3 Hydrosphere You may know that water is the most important component of protoplasm. in addition to carbon. 1. (Refer to table 1. . hence it is essential for life in all living organisms.e. In metabolic processes.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.Environmental Concerns Thus nutrients and energy are combined into one entity i. selenium. vegetation. and ii) it forms the soil. copper. by climate. strontium. This food manufactured by green plants is consumed by other organisms. All organisms also need phosphorus. silicon. You will learn about the water movement in the biosphere when you study the hydrologic cycle in subsection 1. bromine. boron. 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. manganese. Many other nutrients.8.7.2 you will see how nitrogen becomes available to the living organisms when you study the nitrogen cycle.4 BIOMES AND AQUATIC LIFE ZONES The terrestrial part of the biosphere is divisible into enormous regions called biomes. iron. and other nitrogellous compounds. Nitrogen has to be 'fixed' into 'active' nitrogen largely as nitrates and ammonia by certain bacteria in order to become available to living organisms. During the process of metabolism. 1. However. Nitrogen Nitrogen is also an essential component of living systems. In subsection 1.5 in section 1. sulphur. it is the only source of hydrogen and one of the several sources of oxygen. It is required by organisms for the synthesis of proteins. calcium.3. mainly from the hydrosphere. which are characterized. Water is used by organism as raw material for various metabolic processes and they draw it .3.2. molybdenum. potassium. nutrients like aluminium. magnesium. iodine.8 as well) . sodium. biomass by plants. which is required mainly by terrestrial plants. barium and possibly nickel. Movement of these nutrients or materials through the living orgallisms occur as well. oxygen. While looking at table 1. animal life and general soil . the paradox is that this large amount of nitrogen is uilavailable to living organisms in the gaseous state (N2). 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. In addition some organisms may also require for special functions for their survival. vanadium.

arctic hare. Western China.1. patarmigan. Japan. .3 and 1. mosses and sedges. These are generally the most productive agricultural areas of the earth Most aniinals are the familiar vertebrates and invertebrates. Table 1. We call get an idea about both of these ecosystems by looking at tables 1. depth of sunlight penetration.alike. levels of dissolved nutrients. Siberian tiger.2 Terrestrial Biomes Let us first study in brief the main features of the various types of terrestrial ecosystems wit11 the help of Table 1.3: Terrestrial biomes.4. 1. hawks. The dominating vegetation is coniferous evergreens mostly spruce. elks. water temperature.4. oak. Reptiles and amphibians are alnlost absent. The most important climatic factors are temperature and precipitation. in that they are regions o f relatively distinct plant and animal life. 1. 3. / Nameof Biome 1. arctic fox. The fauna consist of small seed eating birds. . arc reindeer. Northern Europe. polar bear. Asia and North America but in areas of more moderate temperature than tundra. Temperature on an average is moderate and rainfall is abundant. little mink. 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. Eastern North America. wolves etc. The major differences between the various aquatic zones is due to salinity. Temperate Deciduous Forest Extends over Central and So~theiil Europe. snowy owl. Aquatic systems are also divided into distinct life zones. lemming.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. ground flora includes lichen. he flora includes trees like beech.3 and Fig.4. maple and cherry. with some pine and firs. wolverine. The typical animal.6. puma. New Zealand etc. fur bearing carnivores. The climate determines the boundaries of a biome and abundance o f plants and animals found in each one of them. Also known as boreal forest. which however are not called biomes but are very similar.

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

5 ECOSYSTEM Each biome can be subdivided into smaller units. ponds. rivers mouths and tidal marshes form the gstuaries. 'a population is a group of potentially interbreeding individuals that occur together in space and time'.4.750 m and with salinity 35 ppt. They vary considerably in s physical. In ecology. and the two are mixed by action are of tides. springs. and rivers. ~stuaries highly productive as compared to the adjacent river or sea. Coastal bays. marine and estuarine ecosystems on the basis of salt content. and the limiting factors which control the living and non-living components.4: Aquatic Ecosystems. An ecosystem is defined as. 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. ' ' was The word ecosysten~. Lotic water systems include freshwater streams. (parts per thousand). b ~ g and lakes. In estuaries. about 90 per cent of which is sodium chloride. brooks. snakes. any unit (a biosystem) that includes all the organisms that function together (the biotic community) i n a given area. For example the desert bionle of Rajasthan is characterised by arid conditions. coined by Prof. They are always influencing each other and organising themselves into communities and have functional relationship with their external environment. Table 1. sandy. Marine Ecosystem Nearly three -quarters of earth's surface is covered by ocean wit11 an average depth of 3. Characteristics Fresh Water Ecosystem (having flowing water) or lentic (still or stagnant water). 'population' has many uses and meanings in other fields of study. Their main charactehstics are given in table 1. Aquatic ecosysteps are distinguished into fresh water. The individual comprising a population are members of the same species.4. Animals found there are lizards. fresh water from rivers meets ocean water. The term. cacti and succulent plants. Lentic water bodies include pools. chemical and biological characteristics. Arthur Tansley in 1935. The various kinds of organisms that inhabit an ecosystem forms its populations. some swamps. The prefix 'eco' means environment. terrain. .3 Aquatic Zones Aquatic ecosystem covers more than 70% of the earth's surface and are as diverse in species as the biomes. Populations of plants and animals in the ecosystem do not function independently of each other. A subdivision of biome such as a pond is called an ecological system or ecosystem. creeks.1. Why is Environment Important? Estuaries 1. rivulets.

and light energy etc. transfer. however. Fig. and the various chemical reactions. climates. There are numerous chemical processes. Fig. and chemical as well as physical processes including volcanoes. Any complete definition of an ecosystem includes the biotic as well as the abiotic components and the interaction between the two. It also involves a large number of chemicals like oxygen. 1.1 Abiotic Components One of the important components of the ecosystem are abiotic or nonliving components about which you have already read in section 1. 1. light and heat. As a result of these complex interactions.7. each of these factor is influenced by and in turn influences all the other factors.6 COMPONENTS OF ECOSYSTEM Recall the definition of an ecosystem from Section 1. Ecosystems differ greatly in composition. and the abiotic elements: inactive or dead organic matter. sediments. the ecosystem has to adjust to these changes to attain a state of equilibrium. The physical or abiotic components are the inorganic and nonliving parts of the world. air.3. storage and output of energy as well as cycling of essential materials through the system. earthquakes. Tlie arrows indicate interactions within the system and with the environment. in the kinds and relative proportions of non-biological constituents and in the degree of variations in time and space. The dotted lines represent the boundary of the system. These physical and chemical processes are the result of the physical characteristics of the earth: air. The three major components are the producers.6. the consumers. nitrogen etc. While each of these abiotic factors may be studied by itself. nutrients in solution in aquatic ecosystems. moisture. floods. 1.1. the soil matrix. illustrates this beautifully. in the number and kinds of species. water. The abiotic part consists of soil.7: Schematic representation of an ecosystem.1 as well). and so on. nitrogen and phosphorous cycles. forest fires.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. and weather conditions.2 (Refer to table 1. 1. but the most important include the carbon. Each of these processes is energy dependent. .

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

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

third and fourth trophic (Trophe = nourishment) levels or food levels.) trophic level.1. It never flows in the reverse direction that is from carnivores to herbivores to producers. (Fig.6.8: Biotic members of the ecosystem and their position In the trophic level. trophic level 11. 1. .3 Trophic Levels \ You are sow aware that an ecosystem is considered as a basic unit. three or four steps and accordingly these steps are known as the first. Why is Environment Important? - Sun Green plants Primary producers - Herbivores Primary consumers Carnivores Tertiary consumers Rg. \ t i 1 1 4. where complex natural community obtain their food from plants through one.\ -2' /?I. This energy always flows from lower (producer) to higher (herbivore.Heterotrophs Top carnivores (quarternary consumers). being omnivores. Let us see the trophic levels to which autotrophs and different types of heterotrophs belong to: Green plants (producers).1. 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. trophic level V . carnivore etc. trophic level IV . 1. . .8). trophic level I11 . may belong to more than one'trophic level.Autotrophs Herbivores (primary consumers).9).Heterotrophs Carnivores (tertiary consumers). trophic level I . second.Heterotrophs Thus energy also flows through the trophic levels: from producers to subsequent trophic levels (Fig. two.Heteiotrophs Carnivores (secondary consumers)..

Environmental Concerns upwards.1. Only the stored materials are available to organisms at the next trophic level. The arrows in the figure denote the direction and movement of nutrients and energy from producer to consumer. The study of trophic level gives us-an idea about the energy transformation in an ecosystem. form a food chain as depicted in Fig. 1. A sequence of organisms that feed on one another. 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. This indicates that organisms belonging to the same trophic level obtain food through the same number of steps from the producer. 1. The assimilated energy is used for various functions of the body like respiration and movement.10.4 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. 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.Energy ingested in food is either digested and dssimilated or passed through and eliminated In faeces.6.10: A pond food chain . Trophic levels are numbered according to the steps an organism is away from the source of food or energy. 1. Similar to the trophic levels and for the same reasons the links or steps in a food chain are usually to four or five. When the organism dies the energy stored in tissues is used by the decomposers.12) Energy lost as heat rnoveniedt Ingestion consumers 1. (see also Fig. that is one organism becomes food for the other.9: Energy use by consumers . I I I I Decomposer I 22 Fig. reproduction or stored and used for the growth of new tissues or excreted. that is the producer.

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

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

2. we will examine how pollutants specially nondegradable ones m~ve~through various trophic levels in an ecosystem (Fig. ii) Biomagnification: biomagnification refers to the tendency of pollutants to concentrate as they move from one trophic level to the next. Bi'oaccumulation: refers to how pollutants enter a food chain. order for In biomagnification to occur.6. may be retained for . which cannot be metabolised by the living organisms.6 Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification In this subsection. The numbers in the figure represent the concentration values of DDT and its derivatives (in parts per million or ppm) in the tissues. Pollutants that dissolve in fats. however. For example chlorinated hydrocarbons. In bioaccumulation there is an increase in concentration of a pollutant from the environment to the first organism in a food chain. the pollutant must be: 1.l. Thus in biomagnification there is an increase in concentration of a pollutant from one link in a food chain to another. If it is not mobile. If the polhdant is soluble in water. 3. 1. it will be broken down before it can become dangerous. 4.13). Movement of these pollutants involve two main processes: i) bioaccumulation and ii) biomagnification. long-lived mobile soluble in fats biologically active Fig. it will stay in one place and is unlikely to be taken up by organisms. it will be excreted by the organism.13: The figure shows how DDT becomes concentrated in the tissries of organisms through four successive trophic levels in a food chain.1. So DDT accumulates in the bodies (especially in fat). 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. By the nondegradabale pollutants we mean those materials. * If a pollutant is short-lived.

and are referred to as ecological pyramids.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. a a a Pyramid of numbers. since it probably won't cause any problems. 1. Other consumer trophic levels are in between. l. If a pollutant is not active biologically.7 i I Pyramids You have studied trophic Ievels in subsection 1. The pyramid consists of a number of horizontal bars depicting specific trophic levels which are arranged sequentially from primary producer level through herbivore. The length of each bar represents the total number of individuals at each trophic level in an ecosystem. carnivore onwards.s I .Environmental Concerns a long time.:rslitl of r n:ipn:k . The ecological pyramids are of three categories.1. Pyramid of biomass.l4(a) where the base of the pyramid represents the food production base for other higher trophic levels. It is traditional to measure the amount of pollutants in fatty tissues of organisms such as fish. but we really don't worry about it much. For example.6. it may biomagnify. we often test the milk produced by females. belonging to each trophic level in an ecosystem.l. I . The food producer forms the base of the pyramid and the top carnivore forms the tip. :. and Pyramid of energy or productivity.3.These steps of trophic levels can be expressed'in a diagrammatic way. since the milk has a lot of fat in it and because the very young are often more susceptible to damage from toxins (poisons). we might have the following pyramid for a grass field as depicted in Fig. In mammals. Pyramid of Numbers This deals with the relationship between the numbers of primary producers and consumers of different levels (Fig. econdary consumers(1) Primary consumers (11) FIg.6.14) It is a graphic representation of the total number of individuals of different species. 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.

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

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

The flow of solar energy is unidirectional. fats. which include the basic inorganic elements sucll as. 1. calcium.1 Flow of Energy in an Ecosystem With the help of the lollowing flow chart.18: Natural balilnced ccosystcn~. carbon. illvc. water. we can interpret tlie f~~nctional aspect of an ecosysten~ the interactions between various components. addition. and potassium. is the direction of energy movement through the ecosystem. This means that chemical energy in the form of carbohydrates.. Of this 19% is absorbed directly by thc atmosphere and the rest by the earth surface. it is essential that there flow is a conti~~uous of energy and cycling of nutrients.18). thc flow of solar energy is unidirectional and it is converted into chemical energy through photosynthesis by plants.{-ul . and proteins as well as a host of other liutrients are transferred into herbivores. Its immediate implication is that an ecosystem will collapse if the sun stops giving out energy. carbonates. which also incorporate in their protoplasm a number of inorganic elements and compounds. cir.cnas well as. Trapping and flow of energy in. such as autotroph (producer) -+ heterotroph. or producer + herbivore + carnivore relationship. These green plants are grazed subsequently by heterotrophs. oxygen and nir. by now energy used for all life processes is derived from solar cnergy. wl~ich compounds such as. -1s you know. In the process. 11 1 sodium. All the food materials or nutrients that we or other animals consuine are obtained directly or indirectly from such producers. As a result there is continuous flow of energy from the sun through various organisins and then to outer spa(. occur in small am0~11~s. (consumer).1.~l. phosphates and a few others also f o r ~ n part of living organisms. Fig.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. Inlplicit in the system. Another feature of the process is that the energy trapped by green plants when transferred from one food level or tropbic level . The remaining 70% of tile radiation' is absorbed by the earth's atinosphere.7. which caters to the necd of our ecosystem. It has been observed that 30% of the total solar radiation entering our atmosphere is reflected by the earthatmosphere system. For an ecosystem to function. 1. 1.wl~ich or involve the flow of energy and cycling of materials (Fig.. This process continues upto the decomposer level through the carnivores. hydrogen.onof nutrienis as well.:: Tliis process maintains the life on the earth. into food materials and is stored within their bodies.

This chemical energy is transformed and used by the cells of the orgallisms through the process of the metabolism for their various activities. energy is transformed in an orderly sequence (Refer again to Fig. which is provided to it mainly in form of ATP while some energy gets transformed into unusable heat (energy). and other activities of living organisms. and 1 k cal into second level carnivore production. However. the cell will be unable to function and becomes disordered.6) So in biological context. In order to continue to function . This is because cells of organisms continuously need energy.5.1. but it is not lost".Environmental Concerns An ecological rule of thumb allows a magnitude of 10 reduction in energy as it passes from one trophic level to another. Transfer of energy from one trophic level to another tells the real story. The first and second law of thermodynamics are given below: 1. movement. The waste heat energy escapes into the surrounding enviroilrnent.1. 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. This is because in an ecosystem. this principle means that "Energy may be transferred or transformed. If herbivores eat 1000 k c 1 of plant energy.organisms and ecosystenls must receive energy supply on a continuing basis which is provided by the sun.19: A diagram illustrating the manlier in which nutrients cycle through an ecosystem. - Energy movement Nutr~ent movement 4 - Fig. about 1 0 k cal will get converted into herbivore tissue. Energy does not cycle because all that is derived from the sun eventually dissipates as heat. This law clearly operates in the trophic levels where at each succeeding level some chemical energy of food is transformed into unusable heat energy. For example the energy of visible light is absorbed by green plants through photosynthesis and is changed into chemical energy. to another also undergoes losses at each transfer along the chain. which.19) depicts the energy transfers and energy losses and nutrient movernent in an ecosystem.7. The following diagram (Fig.8) and is governed by the two laws of thermodynamics. 30 . data suggest that a 90 % loss of energy from one trophic level to another may be too high. more 'energy must be supplied to a biological system from outside to compensate the inevitable energy loss. t . Most of the energy is used to for metabolic activities. Such disorganization can be either a cause or a consequence of cell death. 1. (Refer subsection 1. but such data are hard to collect. If the energy supply is interrupted.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.lO k cal will get into first level carnivore production.is stored in glucose molecules. Since heat energy cannot do usehl works.

Both influence the abundance of organisms. we can conclude the following: a Why is Environment Important? Human intervention in natural ecosystem is growing significantly. many kind of alga (which are the producer base of most aquatic food chain). Activity .) . - Carbon Hydrogen Oxygen Nitrogen Phosphorus (Cont. industrial and nlral communities. As a consequence of this unidirectional and continuous energy flow. which are needed in traces are called micronutrients (see Table 1.8 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. nutrients of food matter never get used up. energy that passes from herbivore to carnivore does not pass back to herbivore from carnivore.5). a typical person in the U. village!) or 500 Ethiopians.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. energy and prosperity go hand in hand. The developing countries of the third world lilce India face perpetual energy shortage. Table 1. Human impact on the pattern and quanhlm of energy flow has changed significantly because of the considerable amount of fossil fuel used by urban. This is because the faecal matter. On the other way hand. So if people were to become herbivores they would be excluded from many food chains.From the above figure. This becomes clearer when we say that.times more energy 1 70F times more synthetic rubber and newspriilt 250 .times more steel 56 . the metabolic rate at which they live.times more motor fuel 300 times more plastic as much grain as five Kenyans. 1. In tl>epresent day world. 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. the ecosystem maintains its entity and prevents collapse of the system. 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. energy movement is unidirectional (unlike the nutrients which cycle) in an ecosystem. so the initial energy trapped by an autotroph does not revert back to solar input. The rich countries have a high rate of consumption. (Refer Sectionl.S. nutrients cycle in the ecosystem and transfer of nutrients does not involve loss of nutrients like that of energy.What would happen if all people in the world become vegetarians? Hints: Humans cannot digest most parts of plants. As compared to a citizen in India. Nutrients that are needed by organisms in large amounts are called macronutrients while those. - 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. uses: 50 .5: Chemical elements or mineral nutrients that make up living things. and the complexity of the ecosystem. They can be recycled again and again indefinitely. and as much energy as 35 (a wliole. 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. Among the more illan 100 chemicals that occw in nature about 40 are present in living organisms.

hydrogen. A perfect nutrient cycle is one in which nutrients are replaced as fast as they are utilised. geo for atmosphere. rivers. which determines the structure and function of the ecosystem. Water Cycle (Hydrologic) -water is one of the most important substances for life. . This is k~lown as biogeochemieal cycling (bio for living. In contrast sedimentary cycles are considered relatively imperfect. (i) 1. the physical basis of life.1 Types of Nutrient Cycles A nutrient cycle may also be referred to as perfect or imperfect cycle. 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. is made up of 90 .which constitute 0.8.where the reservoir is the earth's crust. 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.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.95% of water. 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.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. lakes.where the reservoir is the atmosphere or the hydrosphere and (ii) Sedimentary Cycle . depending on the nature of the reservoir: Gaseous Cycle . namely water. On an average water constitutes 70% of the body weight of an organism.Environmental Concerns * Group IT Macronutrients ( Calcium . as some nutrients are lost from the cycle and get locked into sediments and so become unavailable for immediate cycling. seas and oceans. Carbon. occui-ring in lakes. Human blood contains 90% of water. 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.2 Gaseous Cycles a Let us first study some of the most important gaseous cycles. carbon and nitrogen. Most gaseous cycles are generally considered as perfect cycles. There are of two basic types of cycles. Less than 1% water is present in the form of ice-free fresh water in rivers. 1. Mucli of the remainder is frozen in the polar ice and glaciers.2 percent of diy organic weight. Yet this relatively negligible portion of the planet's water is crucially - I Protoplasm. The oceans alone contain 97% of all the water dn earth. oxygen. It is one of the important ecological factor. Water covers about 75% of the eartll's sulface. and aquifers.

8699 percent [J ( Ground water 0.20: Global distribution of water. inland seas 0. 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). Total water Oceans 97% Fresh water 3% F h water m ice sheets and glaciers 75% ground water 25% lakes b.035% rivers 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 0.01 percent Atmosphere 0. 1.02 percent Soil moisture 0.21: The water or hydrological cycle depicting most of the major pathways of water movement through the ecosystem .396 soil moisture 0. Majority of the world's supply of water is in the oceans.but it does not depict the more recent pathways that have been created due to human activities . rrom streams and rivers and subsurface ground water flow.Why is Environment Important? ( Oceans 97. 1. from land to oceans by n off.0001 percent Fig. and this is all the cycle. Although ice sheets and glaciers hold a large amount of fresh water. 1. their turn over is too slow to be usable.004% of the total. and from land to atmosphere by evaporation again.5 percent Rivers. 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. Figures in diagram based on. lakes. The readily available fresh water is found as ground water in porous rock beds.03% Fig. The hydrologic cycle (Fig.6 percent and ghciers 1.06% atmosphere 0. mean annual global precipitation of 100 units .

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

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

are lost to the system by being transported away by surface run-off or ground water. Sulphur is to some extent intaymediate. The element involved in the sedimentary cycle normally does not cycle through the ahnosphere but follows a basic pattern of flow through erosion. a brief account of this cycle is given. 1. mountain building. thus completing the cycle. These then go through higher trophic levels of the ecosystem.3 Sedimentary Cycle Phosphorus.g. volcanic activity and biological transport through the excreta of marine birds. 1. Fseudomonas). Certain quantity of soil'nitrates.1. Fig. which convert the nitrateslnitrites to elemental nitrogen.8. The sulphur cycle is a good example for illustrating the linkage between air. since two of its compounds hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and sulphur dioxide (SOz). During excretion and upon the death of all organisms nitrogen is returned to the soil in the fomm of ammonia. water and the earth's crust. Nitrogen has become a pollutant because of human intrusion into the natural cycle and this can disrupt the balance of nitrogen in the air. which are the building blocks of proteins. Nitrite is then further transfoimed into nitrate by the bacteria Nitrobacter. In the soil as well as oceans there are special denitrifyiilg bacteria (e.Environmental Concerns transformation of ammonia into nitrite.23: Generalized nitrogen cycle. Sulphur Cycle The sulphur cycle is mostly sedimentary except for a short gaseous phase. This nitrogen escapes into the atmosphere.24) The large sulphur reservoir as mentioned before is in the soil and . sedimentation. and hence. add a gaseous coillponent to its normally sedimentary cycle. The nihates synthesised by bacteria in the soil are taken up by plants and converted into amino acids. being highly soluble in water. (Fig. calcium and magnesium circulate by means of the sedimentary cycle.

sulphides and deposits (pyiite rock and sulphr~r organic sulphur.1. 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).sediments where it is locked in organic (coal. wtll. Species of Beggiatoa oxidise hydrogen sulphide to elemental sulphur and species of Thiobacillus oxidise it to sulphate. 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. ( ~ 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. It is released by weathering of rocks. from surface of ocean and from gases released by decomposition.drogen sulphide to elemental sulphur. {I Why is Environment Important? = oxidation m = mobilization im = immobilizatiog Fig. This can be been clearly in Fig. It then passes through the grazing food chain. Sulphur is found in gaseous forms like hy& *nsulphide and sulphur dioxide in small quantities in the atmosphere. a small reservoir. There are also green and purple sulphur photosynthetic bacteria that oxidise hj. sedimentary and gaseous.1. erosional runoff and decomposition by bacteria and fungi of organic matter and is carried to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in salt solution.24: The sulphur cycle showing the two reservoirs namely. 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. combustion of fossil fuels. oil and peat) and inorganic rock) in the form of sulphates. Major sources from human activity arc the burning of fossil fuels and acid drainage from coalmincs. In anaerobic soils and sediments hydrogen sulphide is formed by sulphate reducing bacteria like Desulfavibrio. Whatcver the source. .25. You should bear in mind that the nutrient cycles discussed here are only a few of the many cycles present in the ecosystem. Sulphur enters the atmosphere fi-om several sources lilce volcanic eruptions. is thti:. Atnlospheric hydrogen sulphide also gets oxidised into sulphur dioxide (SO2). sulphur in the f o m ~ sulphates. to the bottom of ponds and lakes and seas through excrelion and deconlposition of dead organic material.

Environmental Concerns .

_ r Let us imagine [hat we select a single bacterium and allow all its descendents to grow hnd reprocluce without any restriction. Some species like inoose are quite solitary while some animal populations exhibit varying degrees of social organisation.1.e. 1.9 BIOTIC RELATIONS Why is Environment Important? The biological community is a complex network of interactions. These factors in turn are the result of species characteristics and environmental conditions Factors I . individuals compete for the 'rights' over some poriions of their habitat. when resources are not limited Population growth can be determined by looking at factors tl~at. In a month this bacterial colony 39 . 7.9. 1 5.. Extreme social organisation is found in the structure of colonies of insects like termites. like birth and im~nigration and chose factol-sthat tend to decrease the number like death and emnimgration. The dominant subordinate relationships are more prominent when the choices for inates arises.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). Many species exhibit territoriality i. 3.6 you can see [he factor that increase or decrease the populations.6: Population growth depends on the net effect of all the given factors. Table 1. 8. Let us see how intraspecific relalionships affect the population. by limiting the number of organisms of a species in a given area.interspecific relations. Territoriality serves to diminish destructive competition for resources such as food or habitat etc. 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. 6. 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 . ants and bees. By looking at table 1. Intraspecific relations are also expressed in pattern of hierarchy of species or dorninanl and subordinate relationship in the population. The winner uses the territory and the losers have to leave. Reproductive Increase in Population High Decrease in Population Low 2.tend increase to the number of individuals in thal population. Population growth. 4. 9. 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 ---^.

This type of exponential growth occurs mly under conditions of unlimited resources. If the chief resources such as food and space are limited. birth rate equal death rates and population . the resulting growth curve is J shaped as shown in Figure 1. In other words. disease. which in turn will affect population growth. competition for resources. However.1. there will be more competition for the available space and food. I I All the limiting factors that reduce the growth rate of a population constitute environmental resistance. 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. . should maintain a steady state equilibrium. 1. When carrying capacity is reached the11N = K and r yalue will be zero. 1. The maximum number of individuals of a population that its enviro~~ment support can and sustain is called the carrying capacity (K). Population with a positive rate of natural increase grow large each year. All populations have the potential for explosive growtl under optimal growth conditions because nearly all mature individuals can produce offspring.26. If the population goes beyoiid i limit. Population size is believed to level off at the carrying capacity (K) of the environment (Fig. adverse climatic conditions and unsuitable habitats. These factors include predation. 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. We will discuss these conce in greater details in section 1. no population can expect find resources unlimited for population growth. The carrying capacity is a concept related to sustainability.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. a habitat cannot support any populatibn beyond a certain size. In unlimited resources a~ ideal environmental conditions. Except under laboratory conditions. as the population increases in size.27). food shortage. 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 2.27) .Environmental Concerns would be larger than the visible universe and it would be expanding outwarc at the speed of light. When a graph is plotted for the populatioil size.26: The J-shaped curve of population growth of a species. a species can produce offspring at the maximum rate. 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. 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. Population growth when resources are limited Fig. However.13 dealing with human population.

state-phase I I Why is Environmeot Important? Time Fig. and such intimate host .Exponential Dynamic steady. There are several interspecific relationships between different species. otherwise its source of nourishment would be lost. or indirect and remote as between an elephant and a beetle. This is called a symbiotic relationship or. ii) Mutualism is a symbiotic relationship that is beneficial to both organisms.symbiosis. we can use scientific information to understand what the carrying capacity might be and how we might achieve it. namely the parasite benefits and the other. Mutualism and Commensalism.symbiotic relations. 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. the host. SYMBIOTIC RELATIONS Y Some time two types of organisms have a permanent relationship in which at least one depends upon the other for survival.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. is harmed.:1. competition and predation L I. The relation may be direct and close as bet*een a tiger and deer. physiology and life history patterns. Parasites generally have. W e will be dealing with three main types of relationships namely . There are several types of symbiosis.parasite interaction could be potentially limiting to both the population. A well adapted parasite does not kill its host. Parasitism is an interaction in which one species. 1. Lichens are a well known example of mutualism. For the parasite (which is much smaller in size) the host is a source of both food and shelter.9.higher teproductive rate and exhibits a greater host specificity. the cai~ying capacity depends in part on our value for the environment.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. out of which we will deal only a few namely Parasitism. 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. They are often highly specialized in structure. For the human population. i . 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. Because of host specificity many parasites can live in only one or a few related host species.

F. named after the Soviet biologist G. Gause (Fig. Remora. a phenomenon referred to as 'Gause's Principle of Competitive Exclusion'. Pi caudatum (a) and P. The presence of the remora does not benefit the shark but neither does it harm the shark.Environmental Concerns another.'P. When grown separately. uncertain and unstable coexistence is possible. An example of coinmensalism is that of the rcm fish and shark. ar . 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. both species are weak competitors. If one specic is competitively superior. are limited. mates etc. both could co-exist p.eacefully indefinitely in the same habitat. . 11. it will eventually exclude the other species from tlhabitat. 1. If both .28). There are several cxamples of mutualism of plants and animals in nature.28: Competition between two species of Paramecium. iii) Commensalism is a symbiotic relation in which one organism benefits z the other is unaffected. If however. 1. 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. 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.aurelia (bold line) drove the other species (dotted lines) toward extinction. c time (days) . when resources liE food. Fig. space. the outco~ne depends on the initial conditions. but not necessarily. COMPETITION Competition occurs in nature usually. Thus these two organisins combine their functions by living together and both get enough food and water. equally strong competitors. aurella (b) established stable populations (c) When grow ' together.

stay healthy and reproduce. ~eproductive'niche how and when it reproduces.29. Why is Environment Important? 1. Food niche .where it lives 2. Following are its important roles: . physical and chemical factors that a species needs to survive. land slope. nanlely the prey for food. humidity & other requirement. This is a process of paramount importance not only i n natural ecosystems but to man as well. First let us consider the importance of predation in nature. Niche play an important role in conservation of organisms. No two species have exactly tlie same niches. Habitat niche . d Fig. 111.1. 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. A niclie is unique for a species. A niche is unique for a species. the predator kills another. It is a description of all the biological.temperature.what is eats or decomposes & what species it competes with 3. PREDATION This is an interaction in which one organism.29). that means no two species have exactly identical niches. land shape.Gause's competitive exclusion principle states that two species having identical requirements cannot occupy the same 'niche' indefinitely. 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. 4. 1. Physical & chemical niche . 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. So what is the niche of a species? A niche is the unique functional role or place of a species in an ecosystem (Fig.

Systems may be open or closed. a city or a thermal' power plant. prey numbers start increasing. Some systems may physically isolated . Let us see how these oscil occur in a habitat with plenty resources. may be broadly defined as any part of the universe that car isolated for the purposes of observntipn and study. bringi~ down their populatiol~ eventually. In another way you can visualise a system as a set of components or parts that function together tc as a whole. but could be very beneficial to the prey population as a whole. Th Ocean is an open system in regard to water. A system. the prey and predator populations show what are ca 6coupledoscillations' over a period of time. Now due to low density of prey'ir size habitat the predators cannot obtain enough food and so their number star falling. A single organism may be considered a system as may be a ri1 your office. result predators get more food & produce more offspring. TI. . which is op with respect to some factor. driving the prey species to extinction. atmosphere. 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.for example bacteria culture in a petri dish . 1 110. would subsequently lead to elimination of the predator as well. In an ideal situation. you already know that biosphere is also a system.closed in regard to some factor does not ex6 i . 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. This could resuli killing of every prey individual. With increasin predator population in the habitat. " 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. more and more prey are killed. 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. A system that is. I . 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.or may isolated in our minds or in a computer database. This permits the weaker speci persist in the habitat. On a much larger scale.1 System A system. Experimental removal o predators from a community has been known to lead to the eliminat some species and a general decline in species diversity. due to starvation.Environmental Concerns 1) Predation helps to channelise the energy fixed by photosynthetic pi through different trophic levels. which it exchanges with the. 3) Predators also appear to be responsible for maintaining high specie: diversity in many biological communities. exchanges that factor with other systems.

n tern act ~er . Feedback. then the sight of the snake is an input.2 Feedback Mechanism Systems respond to inputs and have outputs. Our body reacts to the input. If by chance you ellcounter a snake. whicll you think is poisonous. This capacity of a system to self regulates or self maintain itself is called homeostatis. our heart rate increases and the hair on our body may rise. Why is Environment Important? 1. Stilnulus (input) :d Lions a tor.30: Negative and positive feedback mechanisms. Earth is an open system in regard to energy and a closed system (For all practical purposes) in regard to material. 1. A classic example of feedback is temperature regulations in human (Fig.perhaps standing still or moving away from the snalte . 1.a set point: When the temperature of the environment rises the sensory mechanisms in the skin detect . Our body for instance is a complex system. .10.30). The adrenaline level in our blood rises. 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.the change (input) and the body responds physiologically. We call such a norm . ) I ract e Effectors I en hange Fig. What keeps the system fairly constant is a feedback mechanism. Positive feedback leads to further change in the same direction. In negative feedbadk the response inhibits or reverses any change from the normal. Positive feedback leads away from the set point and can damage the system. Negative feedback brings the system back to the set point. All these systems in order to operate smoothly need to maintain their existing constant condition. Our response .that factor with other systems. The normal temperature for humans is 37°C.is an output.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 billion in 2000 and will inevitably increase to about 1. it grew to 1. Stationary histogram . 1.per .34 c) each bar is not very different till we come to the age groups (over 75 years) where death rates are significant.34a) Constrictive histogram . hence the name stationary. As this bulge passes through.12. (Fig. there are fewer children being born in each 5 year group than before. 1. You can see a definite bulge during the year 5065 during which period there was a 'baby boon^'. This means that for inany years the average family size has just been sulficient to replace itself. e Expansive Rapid growth : Kenya Constructive Slow growtlr : United States Near stationary Decline in growth : Austria Year of birth.3 j Types of Histogram Why is Environment Important? :r Expansive histogram . 53 .34: Population histograms for Kenya. As you can see in Fig. whose populations are growing very rapidly.The population histograin with an expanding base is . 1. ' the reproductive years this will result in more children than the parents. Such a population is not growing at all.5 billion by 2025.1. It is typical for the developing countries. called an expailsive histogram.In this type of histogram the base is smaller (constrictive).In this type of histogram (Fig.couple policy was enforced during early 1980's. Instead. the United States and Austria . Percentage of population Percentage of population Perdentage gf population Pig.2 billion in the year 2000.1. this does not mean that the population in the United States'is not growing.34 bywhich depicts a population constrictive histogram of USA. However. Thus even if China's one child . China did not achieve its goal of stabilizing population at 1.

- 1.2 children (replacement level fertility) in the next 33 years its cun population would continue to grow until it reaches two billion by 2100. the earth will have to support twice as many humans as it does today. It was only 2 billion in 1930. Make your inferences by observing the graph.5 billion. Now is the time to tackle serious problems because to delay will have dire consequences. Especially since 1960. Every second about three people are added to the world. childhood immunizations and antibiotics). Ea year India is adding 18 million people (roughly another Australia). If India coiltinues on the demographic path as projected. the answer i We are maintaining our present population of 6 billion oilly by rapid depletio our resources: ground water. U. Today. about 87 million people are added to the world.N. National Academy of Sciences and the British Royal Society finds that population is growing at a rate that will lead to doubling by 2050. fossil fuel: clean air. the fastest population growth i. etc. demographers project that by 2050 it will have added another 530 millioil people for a total of more than 1. Duri! this decade it will increase by another billion. (The u of DDT to eliminate the mosquito .5 Future of Human Population: Where Are We today? Global population has quadrupled in 100 years. These changes have been greatly responsible for a dramatic increase in human population. becoming tht world's most populated countiy. a rate of increase unlcnow~~ il previous history. It seems clear that in the next century. Can our planet do this? Cleai. several developments have dramatically reduced infant and child mortality throughout the world. Try to find out the population data of your city/village/State for at least past 3 . We have to develop international policies to regulate critical resources such as fresh wate forests. biodiversity. tropical forests. Evely year.12. r . Thus we will have to the consequences of over population and degradation o r our environment.ly.4 Population of India India next only to China is one of the most populated countries in the wo Although India occupies only 2.Environmental Concerns 1. A recent joint statenlent by t U. Activity years and t y to plot a graph.S. topsoil. On sunday August 15.borne malaria. it will overtake China by 2045. but there are doubts as to whether the natur resource base will support such growth. high yic hybrid varieties of wheat.6% of the world population. the "Green Revolution" has greatly boosted food output through the cultivation of new disease resistant.4% of the total area of the world it suppc over 15. 1999. every day a quarter of a million are added.12. and the atmosphere and take steps to minimize the damah that has already taken place. fossil fuels. India's population passed one billion mark. The global earth population crossed 6 billion mark in September 1999. 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. history. During the same period. approxiniately 40 per cent of the earth's photosyntlietit productivity is used or influenced by human activities. Demographers estimate that even if India could reduce its average family s to 2. as revealed by statistics.

Worldwide spread of non-radioactive toxic chemicals.2 I Responsibilities and Duties of a Citizen r. 1g 1 I1e s no. 0 Environmental effects of thermonuclear war. urbanisation and technological activities.e Before reading about responsibilities and duties you should know about the extent of major damage to the environnlent due to human activities. We have national and international laws on environment. n of '7 face 1.50% of earth's land surface (agriculture as well as urban) Biodiversity and conservation . Also suggest ways to reduce the population as we are seeing high population growth rate in India and we need sustainable development. 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. 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. 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. Discuss the factors you think are responsible for growth or downfall of population growth.ld. 0. Radiations are going to affect who ever comes on their route.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. -- Why is Euvironment Important? 1 11 . This question can be debated long.13. The long term impacts of apparently short . It is time now to think about nature seriously and carefully and this can probably be done through Environmental Ethics. 1 se Id 1. all the cities lying in low areas of the world will get flooded.term technological benefits. This is more important because Nature does not have rights.. deadly radiations are bound to travel as much as the climate permits as radiations do not know boundaries of citylstate/countiy/continent or direction. However. such as the iinpact on natural systenls caused by rapid advances in genetic engineering. 0 Radioactive wastes from nuclear power plants. the fact is that enviroilment knows no boundaries. In case of a nuclear disaster.13.A Hypertext Book by Peter J. It is our constitutional obligation to care for the erlvironment and have sustainable development. So the environment is our's not his or her's. . * The destruction of forests and fertile agricultural soils. 3 I . Bryant and are as follows: e We have already transfonned or degraded 39 . Bryant. The particular coilcerns are: Long-term climatic change resulting from land-use changes. If the snow melts from polar caps.

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

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

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

: i ~ x k :litlg it and t h y .. Our demand on natural resources is rapidly increasing. It is significant to lllentivll here thal.developed countries.7 Further Reading 2.Y nuclear reactors and cadmium-silver cell:.. The poor countries still have to cxpor( sonlc precious mineral. nature has given to us as these are essential for survival and future development. Our industrial and technological development has surpassed the rate at which thesc resources are being used. to Sol. ma.: co ti~c same coui. 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. iiletal I.eloped countries.:xha~stt:i:.lti.at. Therefore.3 Resource Scarcity and Degradation 2.1 INTRODUCTION In the previous unit you have studied what constitutes your environment and how ecosystem supports myriad living organisms including human beings. In the present unit we shall discuss the resourcks or the wealth.< .--j:. for centuries.:c~.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.!G~. may sell it at an exorbitailt price when 111.UNIT 2 Structure NATURAL RESOURCES 2. You have also understood the importance of environment. For e.s extrcmel.6 Let Us Sum Up 2. 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 .. the resources of some of thc countries have bcen exported as raw material to dominant 01. a silvury mctal. .of this metal are exhausted.uamyle wrc arc now-a-days exporting cadmium.1 Introduction Objectives 2.:. The usefill and is used for a variety of pilrposcs Jlkzmaking chdrni~lrn ~ b foi r s watches c:: ?LS nf . it is our prime concern to use our natural treasures wisely and judiciously. 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.L.cign ~:uuntrittsso as tcr earn foreign cwcncy to meet out other necessi~ies. it is believed that thd resources are being used increase in our indiscriminately. If tonlorrow ou: min!2ral resel-ires. 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.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.~. However.ies which are now called dc\..5 Activities 2.

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