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The environment literally means the surrounding which includes the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. The environment is the aggregate of all those things and set of conditions which directly or indirectly influence not only the development or growth and quality of life of individual organisms but also the communities at a particular place.
In another sense the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival.
Also called Biological Community, in biology, an interacting group of various species in a common location or habitat.
The natural place where organisms or communities of organisms live is called habitat.
A. Climatic factors
B. Edaphic factors C. Physiographic factors D. Biotic factors
A. Climatic Factors
i) Light ii) Temperature iii) Precipitation and Atmospheric humidity iv) Air and atmosphere
Light is an electromagnetic radiation that can be detected by the human eye. A beam of light is pictured as a shower of particles called “Photons”. Each photon carries a certain amount of energy called “Quantum.”
The solar radiations which penetrate earth’s atmosphere consist of a band of visible light and a small proportion of UV and Infrared radiations.
Visible light UV IF ray
Measure of hotness or coldness expressed in terms of any of several arbitrary scales and indicating the direction in which heat energy will spontaneously flow, i.e., from a hotter body (one at a higher temperature) to a colder body (one at a lower temperature).
Temperature affects the vegetation and the life forms
Directly appears in two ways: 1. It affects the physiological processes of plants and animals, consequently their growth and size. 2. It determines which species (eg. plants and animals) can survive in a particular region. The different species of plants and animals show a wide variation as regards their tolerance to temperature range and fluctuation.
Plant of Desert When you imagine a desert, what do you think of first? Maybe it's sand, heat, or low monsters, but most likely it's cactus. Cacti are probably the most memorable characteristic of the desert.
Animal of rain forest The King Cobra's biome is the Southeast Asian rainforest. The climate that the King Cobra lives in is rainy and humid. The average temperature is usually 95°F.
Animal of Tundra The polar bear has a thick layer of blubber around 4.5 inches thick. That and the hollow shafts of their hair provides them with excellent insulation. This allows them to handle temperature of -34°F.
Temperature fluctuation in environment
Temperature in any locality is governed by the brightness of the sun. It may vary from sunlight to shade and from daylight to dark. Latitudes also affect the temperature cycles. With the increase of every 150 meter altitude the temperature decreases by 1ºC. Different habitats such as fresh water, marine an terrestrial environments show varying response to fluctuating temperature.
iii) Precipitation and Atmospheric humidity Water is one of the most important climatic factors. It affects the vital processes of all the living beings. The quantity of water retained in the atmosphere depends on temperature and wind. Vapor increases in the atmosphere if the temperature rises and pressure decrease. At certain temperature and pressure, the maximum water-laden air is called saturated atmosphere. At saturation point if the temperature is lowered the water holding capacity of atmosphere is reduced which causes the condensation of water vapor in the form of rain drop, dew, frost, sleet, snow, etc. This is precipitation.
Classes of humidity Absolute humidity: The water vapor present in unit volume of air is called absolute humidity. Relative humidity: The amount of water vapor required to saturate the same unit volume of air under constant physical conditions is called relative humidity.
Penck using precipitation-evaporation ratio, has classified the climate as follows: • Arid: it is characterized by the condition in which evaporation is greater than precipitation. • Arid-humid: When evaporation is more or less equal to precipitation. • Humid: When evaporation is lesser than precipitation. The total rainfall, especially the distribution of rainfall throughout the year is one of the leading features of climate.
iv) Atmosphere and Air
Structure of Atmosphere There are seven concentric layers within the atmosphere which can be distinguished on the basis of temperature. These are as follows: 3. Troposphere 4. Ozonosphere 5. Stratosphere 6. Mesosphere 7. Ionosphere 8. Thermosphere and 9. Exosphere
B. Edaphic Factors
The soil is one of the most important ecological factors called edaphic factors. This factors affect the vegetation are as follows: • Soil moisture • Soil reactions • Soil nutrients • Soil temperature • Soil atmosphere and • Biotic components of the soil.
Water held in the soil is found in the following forms a) Gravitational water: It is free water which percolates downwardly through the pore spaces between soil particles and is accumulated in the pore spaces in the form of ground water. b) Capillary water: The amount of water present around the soil particles and held by surface tension and attraction force of water molecules. c) Hygroscopic water: Water which is adsorbed on the soil particles and held on the surface of particles by forces of attraction and cohesion of its molecules. d) Water vapor: The soil atmosphere, like external atmosphere, also contains moisture in the form of water vapor. e) Combined water: Water of chemical compound is called combined water.
1. Soil moisture
2. Soil reaction
The soil may show acidic, alkaline , or neutral reactions. The growth and productivity of many species of plants are critically related to soil acidity. e.g. Most of the field crops, such as barley, maize, soybeans, tomato flourish in slightly acidic soils. Many ferns and beech trees thrive best in slightly alkaline soils.
3. Soil nutrients
The nature and availability of soil solutes are fundamentally important from the standpoint of plant nutrition. Normally, inorganic solutes are absorbed by the plants in the ionic forms. e.g. Halophytes (salt loving plants).
3. Soil Temperature
Soil temperature in combination with other edaphic factors influences the properties of soil itself and plants as well . Low temperature reduces the rate of water and solute absorption by roots. Root injury due to low temperature in the winter in more common in sandy soil. Soil temperature plays important role in determining the geographical distribution of plants on the sunlight, the angles at which sun rays strike on the surface of soil, daily duration of sunlight, the amount of soil moisture and many other factors.
4. Soil atmosphere
the soil, the spaces contain air. Soil air contains slightly lower proportion of oxygen and higher one of carbon dioxide than atmospheric air contains. Water logged soil are deficient in oxygen. Normally, plenty of oxygen in the soil is necessary for the life of micro-organisms and other soil inhabitants. Oxygen content of the soil is also an important factor in seed germination.
5. Soil organisms
plants, animals and microbes inhibition the soils show marked effects on the soil fertility. Decomposing agents, such as bacteria, fungi and many others convert dead organic matters into humus, free organic compounds and organic ions and thus make the nutrients available to plants. Some soil organisms secrete essential or beneficial substances including growth hormones and some of them secrete toxic substances in the soil which show marked effects on the growth and distribution of plants.
C. Physiographic Factors
Physiographic factors are those which are introduced by the structure, conformity and behavior of the earth’s surface, by topographic features such as elevation and slopes, by the geodynamic processes, such as silting and erosion and consequently by local geology.
D. Biotic Factors
The biotic factors influence of living organisms, both plants and animals upon the vegetation. Any activity of the living organism which may cause marked effects upon vegetation in any way is referred to as biotic effect.
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