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Natural Resources and biogeochemical cycle

What are the basic requirements of life?

The following are the basic requirements for life forms.

  • Ambient temperature
  • Water
  • Air
  • Food
  • Energy from Sun.

What is the atmospheric composition of Venus and Mars?
The following are the atmospheric compositions:

  • CO2: 95 to 97 %
  • N2: 3 to 3.5 %
  • Argon: 1 to 2 %
  • Sulfur
  • A negligible amount of Oxygen is found there.

How Carbon dioxide Co2 gets fixed on the earth?
In the earth, naturally, Co2 gets fixed in two ways:

  • Green Plants or some Bacteria convert Carbon Dioxide(Co2) into Glucose in the presence of Sunlight.
  • Many Marine animal uses dissolved carbonates from sea water to make their shells.

What will happen if there the no atmosphere in the earth?

  • Life on the earth would not be possible.
  • During the day, all the organisms would be burned by sunlight.
  • During the night, all the organisms would be frozen
  • For example, there is no atmosphere on the Moon, during the daytime temperature reached 110' degrees C there and during the night time temperature reaches -190 degrees C.

What is the role of the atmosphere in Climate control?

  • The atmosphere covers the earth like a blanket and maintains the earth's temperature at a moderate level. Since air is a bad conductor of heat, it prevents the sudden increase in temperature during daylight and prevents the sudden escape of heat to outer space during night hours.
  • It also prevents harmful radiation and solar flare to reach the earth.
  • It maintains the temperature of the earth through the movement of air.

How winds blow?
As the atmosphere can be heated by the earth by radiation. The atmosphere is able to be trapped only by that sunlight that is reflected back or re-radiated by land or water bodies. When air is heated by radiation from heated land and water, it rises. Since lands get heated faster than water bodies and lands are also cooled faster than water bodies, in the same fashion atmosphere above the lands and water bodies get heated and cooled. This unequal heating and cooling of the atmosphere create air movement from high-pressure areas( cool atmosphere) to low-pressure areas( warm atmosphere).

What are the sources of Air pollution?

  • Fossil fuels( i.e coal and petroleum) are the main source of air pollution.
    • When fossil fuels burn, they emit greenhouse gases like Co2
    • The combustion of fossil fuels also generates suspended particle matter in the atmosphere.
      • These suspended particles matter could be unburned carbon particle( that is CO) or burned carbon particle that is Hydrocarbon.
    • It contains a small amount of Nitrogen and Sulfur. Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur get released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned. When the oxides of nitrogen and Sulfur dissolved in  rain, it creates "acid rain"
  • Methane is also a greenhouse gas that emits from rotted plants and animals. Paddy fields, livestock, and submerged forests under large dams are the main source of Methane emissions.

An increase in the content of these harmful substances in the atmosphere is called air pollution.

What are the effects of air pollution?

  • High pollution creates smog( that is pollution and cold) and it lowed the visibility.
  • It creates allergic, cancer, and heart disease-like problems.

Why are lichens good indicators of pollution?
Lichens are the bio-indicator or environment indicators or pollution indicators. The abundance presence of Lichens in soil indicates a good sign of the air. If Lichens are not present that means the air is polluted especially polluted with sulfur dioxides.

What is water pollution?
The following changes in water make water pollution.

  • Addition of undesirable substances to water bodies
  • Removable desirable substances such as dissolved oxygen from the water body.
  • Sudden temperature changes either too high or too low 

What are the sources of water pollution?
The following are the sources:

  • Chemical fertilizer and pesticides
  • Sewage from urban and rural settlements
  • Waste from factories
  • A sudden release of hot water to water bodies

What is soil and how soil is being made?
Soil is made up of broken-down rocks, humus, air, and water. The following are the physical, chemical, and biological process that makes soil.

  • The Sun: 
    • During the day: rock expands when heated.
    • During the night: Rocks contract when cooled
    • Since all parts of rock do not expand and contract at the same rate, at result cracks and fractures formed in the rock, and over time large rock broke out into smaller pieces. 
  • Water:
    • Water helps the formation of soils in two ways:
    • When water freezes in rocks crack it causes the cracks to widen.
    • Flowing water wears down the hard & large rocks to the smaller part.
  • Wind:
    • Strong wind aro erode the rocks into smaller parts
    • Winds carry sand from one place to another places.
  • Living Organism:
    • Lichen also grows on the surface of rocks. While growing, they release certain substances that cause rocks to surface to form a thin layer. For example, Mosses are able to grow on the rock surface and they cause the break up of rocks into a thin layer.

What is the biogeochemical cycle?
The biosphere is a dynamic entity but a stable system, it is a result of constant interaction between biotic and abiotic components. It consists of the transfer of matter and energy between the different components of the biosphere.
The following are the biogeochemical cycle:

  • Water cycle
  • Nitrogen cycle
  • Carbon cycle

What is the Water cycle?
The circulation of all the water on the earth's surface is called the water cycle. The following diagrams show the water cycle.

Water cycle
Water Cycle

Where nitrogen is present?

Nitrogen is present in the following:

  • 78 % of the air in the atmosphere is nitrogen.
  • Nitrogen is the part of
  • Proteins
  • Nucleaous Acid( DNA/RNA)
  • Vitamins

What is the nitrogen cycle?

Nitrogen Cycle
Nitrogen Cycle

Although 78 % of the atmosphere is made up of nitrogen, however, living organisms other than a few bacteria are not able to use nitrogen directly from the atmosphere. They first need to convert nitrogen into a usable form those are nitrates and nitrites.
The following way nitrogen is converted to ammonia:

  • Free-living Bacteria
  • Bacteria are associated with dicot plants are legumes plants. legumes plants are pulses plants.
  • Lighting: High pressure and temperature lighting convert nitrogen into oxides of nitrogen.

Once plants and animals die, some bacteria convert them to nitrates.

What is the Carbon Cycle?
Carbon cycle
Carbon cycle

Naturally, carbon is present in the following forms.

  • Element forms: Diamond, Graphite.
  • Mineral forms: Carbonate, Hydrogen carbonate, Carbonate Salts
  • Life Forms: Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats, Nucleaous acids, and Vitamins
  • Photosynthesis: Co2

Try to solve the following question:

  • Identify the importance of biotic resource regions of India and highlight their problems. ( UPSC 2016,250 words, 20 marks)
  • Evaluate the impact of technology on resource utilization in India. (UPSC 2016, 200 words, 15 marks)

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