Physical components of environment
You might have noticed that no organism lives alone. It has many living and non-living things around it which all the time interacting with it. For instance, consider your home. Besides you, there are your family members, pet animals, plants, furniture, utensils, water and many other things home. Do you think all other persons and things at the home exist in isolation of one another? Of course, not!
All things at home including yourselves constitute home environment. All things in this environment are related to and dependent upon one another in many ways. Can you think of some ways in which thinks around you influence your life? Like home, a pond is also a example of a small and simple environment.
Components of environment
From our discussion of home and pond we can say that some of the factors constituting the environment or non-living such as light, water, soil, temperature and air. These factors are called “Abiotic “factors.
The other types of factors include living things i.e. animals including humans, plants and microorganisms. These factors are called “Biotic” factors.
Abiotic factors of environment
Light is an important physical factor of the environment that affects the life of organisms. You know that green plants use sunlight during photosynthesis to manufacture and give oxygen. Plants and all other organisms depend upon the food and oxygen prepared by the green plants. If there where no light there would have been no food or oxygen.
Temperature is also an important abiotic environment factor that determines the climate of an area and changes in it. For instance, changes in temperature lead to cloud formation, rain, melting of snow and winds. Temperature also has great effects on organisms; they cannot live at very low or very high temperature.
Water is essential for the life of living organisms. An environment with abundant of water is more favorable for living things. A greater number and kinds of living things are found in such environment than in the environment with scanty water. There is shortage of water in deserts. Do deserts have larger or lesser number of organisms?
Soil is also important for organisms. For example, land plants obtain their essential nutrients (salts) and water from the soil. Soil is the place of living for many animals such as earthworms, insects and bacteria. These organisms play very important roles in the environment.
Air is an important physical factor of environment. We know that no organism can live without oxygen, which is a part of air. Oxygen is also used in burning. Green plant takes in carbon dioxide from air to use it in photosynthesis. Air and winds also greatly affects the climatic conditions of an area.
Biotic factors of environment
Biotic factors consist of living organisms. According to the role played in the environment, organisms are placed in three categories.
These are organisms, which are capable of synthesizing food by photosynthesis. This food is used by them as well by other organisms, which cannot prepare their own food so they are called producers. Can you name these organisms? Yes, green plants and some bacteria are the producers.
Producers are important in another way. They release oxygen during the photosynthesis and thus maintain its proportion in the air.
All organisms other than green plants cannot synthesis their own food. They depend directly or indirectly upon the food prepared by the green plants. These organisms are called consumers. According to the type of food eaten, the consumers are classified into herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Can you name some these animals?
The organisms, which decomposed dead bodies of plants and animals or materials derived from them are called decomposers. Decomposers include bacteria and fungi.
Decomposers play a very important role in the environment. During decomposition they break down complex substances into the simple compounds and elements, which can be used by the plants and animals. This is a natural way of “recycling” of materials.