Environment Vs Ecology Vs Ecosystem UPSC | Environmental Geography | Physical geography

 What is the environment( परिवेश / वातावरण)?

Combination of surrounding things; both biotic and abiotic things are called environment. 

The environment of humans is comprised of both natural and artificial surrounding things. It includes forest, lands, air, water, lights, many organisms, roads, houses, etc.

There are two major components of the environment;

  • Biotic such as forest, animals, microorganism, etc.
  • Abiotic such as land, air, water, light, sound, energy.

What is ecology (परिस्थितिकी)?

Ecology is the study of all types of relations between the different components of environments. The relation may be friendly or animosity. 

For example, 

  • Study the relationship between sunlight and vegetation growth.
  • Study relationship of energy flow between different tropic levels.
  • Study of the relationship between living organisms.

What is an Ecosystem ( पारिस्थितिकी तंत्र)?

An ecosystem is a functional unit of nature, where living organisms interact among themselves and with also surrounding abiotic components of the environment. The size of the ecosystem can vary from a small pond to an ocean. 

We can consider the whole biosphere as a global ecosystem, but to make it simple in the study we divide the ecosystem into two parts;

  • A terrestrial ecosystem such as forest, grassland, desert, etc.
  • Aquatic ecosystems such as ponds, lakes, wetlands, rivers, estuaries, etc.

In another word, we can also say, the ecosystem is the scientific study of environment and ecology; it includes the study of structure, process, and rate of the energy flow and biogeochemical cycle of the environment.

Structure of ecosystem;

  • Input[ Productivity]
  • Transfer of energy or relationship [ Food chain, Food Web, and nutrient cycle]
  • Output[ Degradation and energy loss]


The vertical distribution of different species at different levels is called stratification. 

For example, trees occupied the top layer of the forest, shrubs the second, and herbs and grasses occupy at the bottom.

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