Components of Environment and Ecosystem


  • Everything that surrounds or affects an organism during its life time is collectively known as its environment.
  • The environment is defined as the sum total of living, non-living components; influences and events, surrounding an organism.
  • All organisms are essentially dependent on the other organism and environment for food, energy, water, oxygen, shelter and for other needs.
  • Environment is the natural component in which biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) factors interact among themselves and with each other.

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  • Both the components of Environment and Ecosystem are the same.

Abiotic Factors

  • Abiotic components are the inorganic and non-living parts of the world. The abiotic part consists of soil, water, air, and light energy etc. It also involves physical processes including volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, forest fires, climates, and weather conditions.
  • Abiotic components are the inorganic and non-living parts which act as major limiting factors.

1. Light

      • The spectral quality of solar radiation is important for life. It determines the distribution of organisms in the environment.
      • In the case of plants, the sun directly supplies the necessary energy.
      • The UV component of the spectrum is harmful to many organisms.

2. Rainfall

      • Majority of biochemical reactions take place in an aqueous medium.
      • Water bodies form the habitat for many aquatic plants and animals.

3. Temperature

      • Temperature is a critical factor of the environment which greatly influences survival of organisms.
      • A few organisms can tolerate and thrive in a wide range of temperatures (called as eurythermal).
      • A vast majority of them are restricted to a narrow range of temperatures (called as stenothermal).
      • High temperature disturbs the balance between respiration and photosynthesis.
      • It also results in desiccation of plant tissues and depletion of moisture.

4. Atmosphere

      • The earth’s atmosphere is responsible for creating conditions suitable for the existence of a healthy biosphere on this planet.
      • 21% oxygen helps in the survival of many organisms; 78% nitrogen prevents spontaneous combustion and 0.038% carbon dioxide helps primary producers in the synthesis of carbohydrates.

5. Organic compounds

      • Proteins, carbohydrates, lipids etc. are essential for energy transfer in the living world.

6. Inorganic compound

      • Carbon, carbon dioxide, water, sulphur, nitrates, phosphates, and ions of various metals are essential for organisms to survive.

7. Latitude and Altitude

      • Latitude has a strong influence on an areas temperature, resulting in change of climates such as polar, tropical, and temperate. These climates determine different natural biomes.
      • Vertical zonation of vegetation is caused due to altitude. Change in temperature with altitude is a limiting factor because as the altitude increases, the air becomes colder and drier.

8. Buffering capacity of the earth

      • A neutral pH (pH of 7) is maintained in the soil and water bodies due to the buffering capacity of earth.
      • The neutral pH is conducive for the survival and sustenance of living organisms.

Biotic Factors

  • Biotic components include living organisms comprising plants, animals and microbes and are classified according to their functional attributes into producers and consumers.

1. Primary producers or Autotrophs (self-nourishing)

      • Primary producers are green plants, certain bacteria and algae that carry out photosynthesis by the help of inorganic material like Carbon di oxide and Water in Presence of Sunlight.
      • In terrestrial ecosystem, producers are basically herbaceous and woody plants, while in the aquatic ecosystem, microscopic algae (plankton) are the primary producers.

2. Consumers or Heterotrophs or Phagotrophs

      • Consumers are incapable of producing their own food.
      • They depend on organic food derived from plants, animals or both.
      • Consumers can be divided into two broad groups namely micro and macro consumers.

Macro consumers

          • They feed on plants or animals or both and are categorised on the basis of their food sources.
          • Herbivores are primary consumers which feed mainly on plants. They are commonly called herbivores. E.g. sheep, rabbit, etc.
          • Secondary consumers feed on primary consumers. They are commonly called carnivores. A carnivore is an animal that gets nutrition indirectly from producers by eating herbivores. E.g. wolves, dogs, snake, etc.
          • Carnivores which feed on both primary and secondary consumers are called tertiary consumers. E.g. lion, snakes etc.
          • Omnivores are organisms which consume both plants and animals. E.g. man, bear, pig, etc.

Micro consumers or Saprotrophs (decomposers or osmotrophs)

          • They are bacteria and fungi which obtain energy and nutrients from decomposing dead organic substances (detritus).
          • The products of decomposition such as inorganic nutrients which are released in the ecosystem are reused by producers and thus recycled.
          • Earthworm and certain soil organisms (such as nematodes, and arthropods) are detritus feeders and help in the decomposition of organic matter and are called detrivores.

Component of Ecosystem Biotic Factors, Abiotic Factors, Complete Notes on Ecology and Environment ... Click Here

Interaction between Biotic and Abiotic Components of Environment/Ecosystem

    • The Biotic and Abiotic components of an ecosystem keeps on interacting with each other continuously.
    • The biotic and abiotic components interact intimately and greatly influence each other.
    • Both components do not exist in isolation from one another.
    • The living organisms not only depend on the physical environment but also affect the conditions of the physical environment.


So, this is all about the Component of Environment i.e. Biotic and Abiotic Components.

In the Next Post (Click Here), We will discuss about the Ecology and Levels of Organisation.

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