Environmental studies NOTES CHAPTER 1
Environment: is more that water , land and air. It’s the sum total of our surroundings. It includes
earths biotic and abiotic components which we interact with
Animals, plants, forests soils & people
Continents, clouds, rivers, icecaps
International relations, politics , ethics, business management, economics, social equity,
engineering, Law enforcement ALL play a role in protecting and managing the environment.
Environmental Science: The study of how the natural world works, how our environment affects us,
and how we affect our environment.
Environmentalism: A social movement dedicated to protecting the natural world, an by extention,
Humans from undesirable changed brought about by human choices.
Natural resources are vital to our survival.. there are limits to many of our renewable resources.
Renewable Natural Resources:
Wind / wave/ Geothermal Energy
NonRenewable Natural Resources:
Copper, Aluminum & other metals
Environmental impact Formula ▯ I=P x A x T (Population, Affluence, Technology)
Affluence is “level of consumption”
Carrying Capacity: measure of the ability of a system to support life
Ecological Footprint: Tool that can be used to express the environmental impact of an individual or
population. Calculated in terms of land, water required to provide the raw materials that person or
populations comsumes, and to absorb or recycle the wastes produced. Biocapacity: the capacity of extra terrestrial or aquatic system to be biologically productive and
absorb waste, especially carbon dioxide
*** When population exceeds or overshoots the carrying capacity or biocapacity of a system, the
system will be at risk of permanent damage.
Sustainability: A guiding principle in environmental science that requires us to live in such a way as
to maintain earths systems and natural resources for the foreseeable future. Chapter 3
Our planets environments consists of complex systems and networks. Including webs of
relationships among species and interatcions of living species with non living entities. Each system
also include cycles that shape the landscapes around us.
System= a network of relationships among parts, elements, or components that interact with and
influence one another through the exchange of energy, matter or information.
OPEN SYSTEMS Systems that receive inputs of both energy and matter and produce outputs of
both. Energy and matter are freely exchanged with surroundings
CLOSED SYSTEMS Systems that receive inputs and produce outputs of energy but not matter.
Matter cycles among the various parts of the system but does not leave or enter the system.
Energy is free to come and go.
Feedback Loops: Relationships between parts of a system.
Positive Feedback: Reinforces or speeds up a change that is occurring
Negative feedback: Counteracts of slows down a change that is occurring
Geosphere: rock and sediment beneath our feet
Atmostphere: composed of air surrounding our planet
Hydrosphere: all water salt, liquid, fresh, ice, vapour
Biosphere: all the planets living and recently deceased and decaying organisms
Biotic Anything that has to do with life or living organisms
Abiotic Non living parts of the environment. Continents, clouds, rivers, icecaps
Water, minerals, light oxygen, temperature, wind
Organic Matter: Material from which living things or formerly living things is made.
Usually includes Hydrogen atoms and may include Nitrogen, Oxygen, Sulpher or Phosphorous
There are 6 key elements used to create organic matter (living things):
Carbon (C) - essential
Hydrogen_ _(_H_)_ _
Oxygen _(_O_)_ _
Nitrogen ( N_)_ _
Inorganic Matter: Compounds of mineral( rather than biological origin) Biomes: Large regions of similar biotic communities
Habitat: Physical ad biological or abiotic and biotic conditions which a species is adapted
Landscape: Group of interacting ecosystems
Ecological Niche’s – Some species are
Specialists: meaning they have very specific requirements, so only found in certain conditions EX:
Generalists: have a broad tolerance to different conditions and can survive a range of habitats EX:
Ecosystems A distinctive Biotic Community and the abiotic systems with which it interacts.****
consists of all organisms living and nonliving entities that occur and interact in a particular area at
the same time. Biological community ( group of interacting organisms of various types interacting
and living together in a specific habitat.
4 Main Ecosystems= Grassland, Aquatic, Forest, Desert
Ecotones: Areas where ecosystems meet often
Autotrophs like green plants use photosynthesis to capture the suns energy and produce food. The
result of this process is the production of BIOMASS, organic material of which living organisms are
Gross primary production (GPP): the conversion of energy to the energy of chemical bonds in
sugars by autotrophs
Net primary Production (NPP): The energy that remains after respiration and is used to generate
Hydrologic or (water cycle) Sumarizes how waterin liquid, gaseous and solid forms flow thr