Components of Environment – Natural and Man-made

Broadly speaking, components of environment can be classified in to two:

Natural Environment

1. Lithosphere

It is the solid rocky crust covering the entire planet. It is inorganic and composed of minerals. It consists of continents, mountains and ocean floor, which makes up 29% of the earth’s surface.

2. Hydrosphere

It is composed of all the water on and around the earth. It includes all the oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams on the earth. It covers 71% of the earth’s surface of which 97% is in the oceans. Only 3% is fresh water which includes the solid ice sheets as well as liquid form in the rivers and ponds.

3. Atmosphere

The atmosphere is the layer of gases surrounding the earth’s surface. It consists of 78% of Nitrogen, 21% of Oxygen, 0.03%carbon dioxide and other gases. The atmosphere helps to maintain the temperature near the surface by absorbing the dangerous ultraviolet rays coming from solar radiation.

4. Biosphere

This component comprise of living or non living organisms, flora and fauna, plants and animal species including one-cell organisms. They all are vital to maintain the energy flow via eco-cycles, food webs and food chains (discussed in the following sections) and thus maintain the balance in nature.

Man-made Environment

1. Anthrosphere

The part of environment made, modified, or used by humans for their activity is called Anthrosphere. The entire infrastructure made by humans by using the natural components of the environment can be considered as a part of Anthrosphere. For e.g. buildings made with the use of wood, cement or water. Even an ocean-going ship used to ship goods made in the factory.

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