The Earth is the only planet where life is found and this is the reason it is known as the living planet or the sphere of life. The life is made possible on our planet earth only due to the presence of other components like hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere. It is important to note that life does not exist everywhere on earth. The existence of life is confined to a narrow zone where all the components meet in right amounts. This narrow zone where life exists is called as biosphere. Biosphere is everything about life on earth. It is the place where humans, animals, plants, microorganisms live and interact with each other.
Nature has sustained and balanced such a vast variety of life forms for millions of years with the help of check points. But currently the conditions have changed and have become adverse.Our planet Earth is in danger because of unprecented and unsustainable intervention of human beings.
Mahatma Gandhi has rightly said, "Earth has everything to meet the need of human beings, but not the greed".
Hence, If we want to save planet Earth, we must modify our way of using things.
The range of biosphere
The narrow zone of biosphere ranges VERTICALLY,
- 10 kilometers upwards into the atmosphere
- 10.4 kilometers downwards into the hydrosphere
- 27,000 feet into the earth surface or lithosphere (maximum living organisms are found in this region)
The biosphere covers the entire globe HORIZONTALLY excluding some of the extreme hottest and coldest parts. Few exceptional life forms are also known to exist in the extreme condition, for examples Algae and thermophillic bacteria.
Factors affecting biosphere
- Distance between the Earth and the Sun: If we were closer to sun then, it might have been too hot and if we were further away, it might have been too cold. These too hot or too cold conditions may not have supported the life.
- The Tilt of the Earth: The tilt of the Earth creates the seasons and seasonal variations on our planet. Seasons are very important for continuous existence of life on earth
- Other smaller factors like climate, humidity, precipitation, temperature, erosion etc. change the land and living conditions around the living organisms. These factors have the capacity to effect at molecular levels.
Components of biosphere
Basically biosphere includes three main components namely,
Abiotic components: These include all the non-living elements of the biosphere. Though these are non-living elements they are critical for the survival of the all the living organisms. Abiotic components include,
- Lithosphere- Solid part of the Earth’s crust
- Atmosphere- Gaseous part of the Earth
- Hydrosphere- Liquid part of the Earth
The area where all these components mingle with each other is the perfect area for the development of the organic life.
Biotic components: These include all the living elements of the biosphere. The main elements are plants, animals, microorganisms and human beings.
- Plants- Plants are the primary producers and hence are very important. They produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis and are called autotrophs. Plants also help in recycling of organic matter. Hence they also act as a source of energy for all living organisms.
- Animals- Animals are the primary consumers. As they do not produce their own food and depend on other sources for food, they are called heterotrophs. Animals use the organic matter from the plants as food. They transform the food into energy and utilize it for growth and development.
- Microorganisms- It includes virus, bacteria, algae, fungi etc. They are the major class of decomposers as they decompose the dead and decaying matter. By this process of decomposing they obtain their food.
Energy components: The major source of energy on earth is sun. Energy component is the vital part of the biosphere. Without this energy component, life is difficult on our planet Earth. It is with the help of this energy component that regeneration and reproduction is made possible. Just like machines, all living organisms use this energy component to work and to convert one form of energy to another form.
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