What is the Environment?

The environment is the place of our universe that contains different types of physical, chemical, living (biotic components), and non-living (abiotic components) factors or ecological communities. Plants, animals, and microorganisms are part of the biotic components of our earth while abiotic components are light, temperature, atmospheric gases, water, energy, etc.

Environment definition, topics, and biotic and abiotic components of nature

Our environment is made up of various physical surroundings, living beings, and climate conditions. A change in any of these conditions can affect the life of the living organisms.

Components of Environment

The components of the environment contain various things and sets of conditions that influence the life of a living organism. These refer to both living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) components of our earth.

Biotic Components of Environment

Biotic components of our environment include all the living organisms present in the ecosystem and are interconnected with one another by various mechanisms.

Based on the food they consume, the different living organisms can be categorized into three groups such as producers, consumers, and decomposers.


All the green plants and certain blue algae are part of producers because they produce food by photosynthesis. They can absorb radiant energy from the sun and produce carbohydrates. Producers are also called autotrophs because they convert solar energy into chemical energy.

They are the source of nutrition for the rest of the ecosystem. They can take carbon dioxide for food production and release oxygen into our environment.


Consumers can consume food from the producers. Therefore, they depend on the producer for their nutritional requirement. They can be further subdivided into three categories such as herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores.

  • Herbivores: They are primary or first-order consumers that feed directly from producers (plants). Examples of herbivores are grazing animals such as zebra, goats, horses, sheep, etc.
  • Carnivores: Carnivores are animals whose food and energy requirements derive from other animals through hunting or scavenging. The carnivores (lions, hawks, wolves) that feed from herbivores are called second-order consumers or predators. Some animals (jackals) in our environment can feed on dead animals that they find. Therefore, they are called third-order consumers or scavengers.
  • Omnivores: These are animals in our environment that feed on both plants and animals. Examples of omnivores are humans and bears.


Decomposers are microorganisms that feed on decaying and dead organic matter. The breakdown of dead animals and plants can release various substances that are used by other members of our environment.

Decomposers can decompose waste from our environment and reduce environmental pollution. They help in recycling materials, cleaning waste, and creating space for the growth of new organisms. If these organisms are removed from any ecosystem, recycling of nutrients will stop. Therefore, the balance of the ecosystem will be lost.

Abiotic Components of Environment

Abiotic components of the environment are the non-living components on which living organisms are dependent. Each of the abiotic components influences the variety of plants and animals present in our ecosystem. Below the topics of learning chemistry, we shortly discuss various essential components of our environment.

  • Light: Light energy (sunlight) is the primary source of energy in all ecosystems. Green plants use it during photosynthesis for the production of food. During photosynthesis, plants produce organic substances by combining various inorganic substances.
  • Temperature: The distribution of plants and animals is greatly dependent on the temperature of our environment. The pattern of rain also depends on temperature and affects the growth of plants.
  • Atmospheric Gases: Oxygen is required for the respiration of animals while carbon dioxide is required during photosynthesis of plants. Nitrogen is made available to plants by certain nitrogen-fixation bacteria.
  • Water: Water is an essential component of life. It is a universal solvent that provides a medium for biochemical reactions in living organisms. Various biological substances are also transported from one part to another part of the body in the dissolved state. Therefore, organisms must maintain a distinct level of water in their bodies to stay alive in our environment.
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