Structure of Environment
Environment is both physical and biological. It includes both living and non-living
(i) Physical Environment
The Physical Environment is classified into three broad categories viz.
These represent the following spheres:
(i) The lithosphere (solid earth)
(ii) The hydrosphere (water component) and
(iii) The atmosphere
As such, the three basic of physical environment may be termed as under:
(i) Lithospheric Environment
(ii) Hydrospheric Environment
(iii) Atmospheric Environment
The scientists have classified them into smaller units based on different spatial scales,
(i) Mountain Environment
(ii) Glacier Environment
(iii) Plateau Environment
(iv) Coastal Environment
(ii) Biological Environment
The biological of the environment consists of:
(i) Plants (flora)
(ii) Animals (fauna).
Thus, the biotic environment further be divided into floral environment and faunal
environment. All the organisms work to form their social groups and organizations at several levels. Thus, the social environment is formed. In this social environment the organisms work to derive matter from the physical environment for their sustenance and development.
This process gives birth to economic environment. Man claims to be most skilled and civilized of all the organisms. This is the reason why his social organisation is most systematic. The three aspects of man, e.g. physical, social and economic, function in the biotic environment as under:
(i) The Physical Man
The ‘Physical Man’ is one of the organisms populations or biological community. He is
in need of basic elements of the physical environment like habitat (space), air, water and
food. Besides, like other biological populations, he releases wastes into the ecosystem.
(ii) The Social Man
The ‘Social Man’ performs the following functions:
(a) Establishing social institutions,
(b) Forming social organisations,
(c) Formulating laws, principles and policies,
(d) Taking steps to safeguard his existence, interest and social welfare.
(iii) The Economic Man
The economic man derives and utilises resources from the physical and biotic environment with his skills and technologies. The economic function makes the man an environment/geomorphic process as he transports matter and energy from one component of the ecosystem to the other. There may be any following two situations:
(a) His exploitative functions may be in harmony with the natural environment. Such,
functions do not necessarily involve change in the working of the ecosystem.
(b) These functions may exceed the critical limit. Consequently, the equilibrium of the
environment/ecosystem is disturbed and a great number of environment and
ecological problems crop up. These are determental to man him besides to whole
population of human species in a given ecosystem.
Structure of Environment