Some terminologies-relating to Environment

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Nov 30, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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Some terminologies
-
relating to Environment



Ecology
:





The

scientific

study

of

the

relationships

of

living

organisms

with


each

other

and

with

their

environment

(Southwick,
1976
)
.




-
The

study

of

interactions

of

organisms

with

the

physical

and




biological

environment

(Ricklefs

and

Miller,
2000
)
.


Environment
:




The

complete

range

of

external

conditions

physical

and


biological

in



which

an

organism

lives
.


-

The

environment

refers

to

the

physical

and

biological

systems

which


provide

our

basic

life

support

and

which

contribute

to

our

psychological


well

being
.


Environmental

Science
-




The study of science subjects which deals with

environment. It is

evident that Ecology and Environmental Science

are not

mutually

exclusive but have maximum contents and concepts in common.



-

Environmental

Science

integrates

Ecology

as

well

as

other

branches

of


Science

with

Economics,

Politics,

Philosophy

etc

exhibiting

a

holistic


principle

in

the


domain

of

environment
.


Environmental

studies
:

This

is

a

new

terminology

which

has

been

coined

very

recently

to


deal

with

the

environmental

issues

in

a

generalized


manner

give

priorities

to


socio
-
cultural

aspects

and

at

the

same

time

laying

less

emphasis

on

the


complicacy

of

hard

core

science

so

that

a

learner

as

well

as

common

people

can


easily

understand


and

able

to

appreciate

the

environmental

problems

in

a

general

way
.



Environmental

Biology
:

The

study

of

problems

that

result

from

natural

hazards

and

human

exploitation

on

biological

world
.



Ecotoxicology :

The scientific enquiry to the fate and
action of human made substances like pesticides,
detergents on natural world, especially the way in
which such substances affect human health.


Finally, ecology must be distinguished from a number
of other endeavors that are often confused with it.


Environmentalism, Conservationism and
preservationist are social and political movements, not
fields of scientific enquiry. In their most constructive
and responsible form, these movements seek to
educate the public about human
-
induced
environmental problems and to effect changes that will
alleviate such problems.

Ecosystem
-

its Concepts

Definition of Ecosystem
:
Although the ecosystem concept emerged as early
as 1935, only in the past four decades, it has undergone extensive
development and application. The ecosystem concept considerably
strengthened the science of ecology by


(i) focusing equal attention on abiotic and biotic components and


(ii) explicitly recognizing the potential for studying ecological processes at
multiple scales.

Definition:

1.
The term ecosystem was first coined by the British Ecologist, A.G.
Tanslay (1935), extracting the idea for a system from physics. It is the
system so formed which provides the basic units of nature on the face of
the earth. These ecosystems may be of various kinds and sizes.

2.
Ecosystem is defined as a spatially explicit unit of the earth that includes
all of the organisms along with all components of the abiotic environment
within its bound areas (Likens. 1992).

3
.
The

functional

relationship

between

community

and

habitat

are

many

and

complex,

constituting

on

ecosystem

(Kendeigh,

1974
)
.


4.
Any

unit

that

includes

all

of

the

organisms

i
.
e
.

the

community

in

a

given

area

interacting

with

the

physical

environment

so

that

a

flow

of

energy

leads

to

clearly

defined

trophie

structure,

biotic

diversity

and

material

cycles

within

the

system

is

an

ecological

system

or

ecosystem

(E
.
P
.

Odum,

1971
)
.


5
.
An

ecosystem

is

basically

an

energy

processing

and

nutrient

regenerating

system

whose

components

have

evolved

over

a

long

period

of

time
.

(R
.
L
.

Smith,

1990
)
.


Summing

up

all

those

above
-
mentioned

definitions,

the

ecosystem

may

be

defined

as

an

open,

and

self
-
sustaining

unit

or

system

within

environment

composed

specific

structural

components

(biotic

and

abiotic)

the

interactions

of

which

result

the

flow

of

energy

and

cycle

of

materials
.

Hypothetical representation of food chain
& food web

Cybernetics or Stability of Ecosystem:


Ecosystems

are

capable

of

self
-
maintenance

and

self
-
regulation

as

are

their

component

populations

and

organisms
.



Thus,

the

science

of

controls

vis
-
à
-
vis

cybernetics

(Gr
.

Kybernetes

=

Pilot

or

governor)

as

founded

by

Wiener

(
1984
)

has

important

application

in

ecology

since

man

increasingly

tends

to

disrupt

natural

controls

or

attempts

to

substitute

artificial

mechanisms

for

natural

ones
.



Homeostasis

(Homeo

=same
;

stasis=standing)

refers

to

the

tendency

for

biological

systems

to

resist

change

and

to

remain

in

a

state

of

equilibrium
.



Homoeostatic

mechanism

operates

from

the

individual

level

to

ecosystem

level
.


The stability may be achieved in two ways
:




Through feedback control



Through redundancy of components


Stability through feedback control





An ecosystem as a cybernetic or homoeostatic system consists of a set of
interdependent parts or subsystems enclosed in a defined boundary).




Outside is an environment, which provides the inputs necessary for it’s functioning. The
system’s output is any attribute transmitted to the environment.




The output from the system is directly related to the input. If input ceases, the system no
longer functions. Homeostatic system exists which maintains balance between input and
output. Some of the output is fed back into the system to influence future output.




A feedback system involves an idea state or set point towards which the system adjusts.
If the feedback accelerates a deviation away from the set point, it is called positive.
Although the positive feedback is necessary initially for the growth, survival and higher
production but unless controlled, it can destroy the system. Counteracting positive
feedback, is negative feedback. If halts or reverses a movement away from the set point
by controlling the behavior of the input.






In

the

predator

prey

relationship,

input

of

energy

in

predator

(though

ingestion)

is

dependent

on

and

is

controlled

by

the

output

of

energy

(chasing

of

pray)
.

Here,

the

stored

energy

is

fed

back

to

ensure

future

input

of

energy
.




This

predator

pray

interaction

represents

a

good

example

of

cybernetic

stability
.




Population

explosion

of

pray

acts

as

a

positive

feedback

resulting

the

growth

of

predator

population

which

on

its

part

acts

as

a

negative

feed

back

controlling

the

unwanted

population

rise

of

the

prey
.




Thus

an

equilibrium

of

both

population

is

maintained


Example

Growth of predator
population

Growth of prey
population

Stability through redundancy of components:


Performing

of

a

specific

function

by

more

than

one

component

is

called

redundancy
.

Redundancy

enhances

stability
.

For

example,

diversity

of

species

enhances

stability

of

ecosystem
.

Owing

to

the

involvement

of

so

many

organisms

enjoying

different

trophic

level,

the

food

web

offers

more

stability

than

food

chain
.

Types of stability


From ecosystem point of view, there are two
types of stability
:


Resistance stability: The ability of an
ecosystem to resist perturbations and
maintain its structure and function intact.
Therefore, it has the ability to avoid
displacement.


Resilience stability: The ability of an
ecosystem to return to its original state
quickly after being disturb by a
perturbation.

Environmental Components and relationship with society

Ecosystem

as

defined

by

A
.
G
.

Tansley

has

two

integral

and

interacting

components
:

biota

(the

living

part)

and

habitat

(non

living

part)
.

Biodiversity

may

be

simply

defined

as

the

totality

of

diverse

kinds

of

biota

(microbes,

plants

and

animals)

including

all

conceivable

varieties

from

micro

to

macro

level

(Datta,

2006
)
.

Beck

(
1995

)

suggested



that

we

need

to

shift

the

focus

of

our

understanding

and

research

on

the

process

of

ecological

degradation

from

the

physical

and

natural

sciences

to

an

analysis

of

the

social

origins

of

ecological

degradation”
.


Duncan (1961)

first developed POET model, to describe
the relationship between social factors and the natural
environment. According to POET model human societies
are being composed of four interrelated components.


In this model P stands for human population,


O for social organization,


E form natural environment and


T for technologies employed by society.


Brulle

(
2000
)

stated,

“A

society’s

impact

on

natural

environment

is

seen

to

be

a

function

of

the

simultaneous

interaction

of

population

level,

social

organization

and

technological

development”
.



Ehrich

and

Hoildren

(
1971
)

postulated

the

IPAT

model


where

I

indicates

Impacts

of

human

activities

on

the

natural

environment

and

sequentially

three

variables

are


P
-
Population,


A
-
Affluence

and


T
-
Technological

development
.


In conclusion the “New Ten commandments” (Datta 1990) are mentioned below
which may be helpful as a key to the survival of man and biosphere. (It is well
known that the Ten Commandments are the ten laws which were proclaimed by
God to Moses on Mt. Sinai).

1.
Man’s place and role in nature should be reexamined.

2.
Man should refrain from making large scale transformation of environment
without proper environmental impact analysis.

3.
man as apart of Earth Watch programme should ensure that the fate of the
“global commons” does not end in the “tragedy of the commons”.

4.
A balance between population growth and resource utilization should be
established.

5.
The gap between the rich and the poor, between the developed and developing
as well as between the developed and underdeveloped countries should be
narrowed.

6.
Equitable distribution of resources to all for rightful use should be allowed and
needful conservation of vital resources should be practiced.

7.
Essential ecological processes should be allowed to continue in time and space
without any impediment.

8.
Abuse and misuse of resources should be avoided and wastes should be
recycled as far practicable.

9.
Man will have to develop a profound respect for nature.

10.
Man should remain altruistic.


KNOWLEDGE SYSTEM: THE CONCEPTUAL
FRAMEWARK :


Here

we

are

dealing

with

two

aspects

ecological

knowledge
:



i)

the

formal

knowledge
-

that

is

next

book
-

based

ecological

knowledge

derived

by

the

scientific

community,

going

through

a

hypothetico
-
deductive

process
;



ii)

the

traditional

knowledge
-

that

is

available

with

local

communities

which

has

just

standard

receiving

adequate

attention

from

the

scientific

community
;

this

knowledge

base

accumulated

by

traditional

societies

on

basis

of

an

experimental

process

is

all

the

time

being

refined

and

adapted

to

changing

socio
-

ecological

situations,

both

in

space

and

time
.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge
:


Traditional

societies,

based

on

their

accumulated

wisdom

have

evolved

their

own

knowledge

base

linked

to

biodiversity

in

all

its

scalar

dimensions

(sub
-

specific,

species

and

ecosystems

and

landscapes)

linking

conservation

with

their

sustainable

livelihood

concerns
.

Based

on

a

value

system

that

they

cherish

(

intangible

culture

values
-

Ramakrishnan

2008
b),

they

seek

tangible

benefits

from

the

natural

and

human
-

managed

ecosystems

placed

within

the

landscape
.


TEK

linked

with

biodiversity

in

all

its

scalar

dimensions

can

be

broadly

classified

into
:


(i)

ethnobiological



aspects

dealing

with

medicinal

species

and

lesser
-

known

species

of

food

value
;


(ii)

that

links

ecological

processes,

at

the

species,

ecosystem

and

landscape

levels

with

social

processes

right

from

family,

village,

village

cluster

and

regional

levels
;

and


(iii)

ethical/cultural

with

intangible

values

that

they

treasure

(Ramakrishnan

2008
b),

often

times

with

tangible

implications

(what

may

be

viewed

as

socially

valued

species,

ecosystems

and

landscapes

with

tangible

economic

benefits

linked

to

them

Ramakrishnan

2008
a,

c)
.

TEK: The Basis of Linking Ecological with
Social Processes


Socio
-
ecological

value

at

the

species

level


Species

Level

Interconnections

in

Traditional

Agriculture


Traditional

society

maintain

a

variety

of

complex

multi
-
species

agroecosystem,

operated

under

varied

levels

of

intensification
.

Ranging

from

casually

managed

shifting

agriculture

system,

through

a

whole

variety

rotational

fallows,

agroforestry

systems,

compound

farms,

traditional

cash

cropping

systems,

crop

rotation

system

etc
.

Maintained

at

the

middle

intencity

levels,

leading

to

the

modern

high

energy

input

agriculture
.

The

complexity

of

these

agro
-
ecosystems

are

due

to

TEK

based

biodiversity

(sub
-

specific

and

species

level

crop

and

associated

biodiversity)

management,

both

in

space

and

time
.


In

the

successional

forests

on

north
-

eastern

hills

of

India,

a

variety

of

socially

selected

species

are

also

ecologically

significant

keystone

species
.




Nepalese

alder

(
Alnus

nepalensis)
,

a

nitrogen

fixing

species

(fixing

up

to

about

125
kg

N/Ha/year)

and

many

bamboo

species

(
Bambusa

tulda,

B
.

khasiana

and

Dendrocalamus

hamiltoni)

with

the

ability

to

conserve

nitrogen,

phosphorus

and

potassium

in

the

early

successional

shifting

agricultural

fallows

play

a

key

role,

both

in

space

and

time,

in

determining

forest

successional

process
.




Such

an

interphase

between

ecological

and

social

processes

are

critical

for

natural

resources

management

with

community

participation,

and

for

biodiversity

management
.

Species level Inter connections in Natural
Ecosystem

Socially Valued Ecosystems
:


The

socially

valued

ecosystems

with

a

range

of

socio
-
ecological

dimensions
;



Traditional

agricultural

system

that

meet

with

the

livelihood

needs

of

traditional

society


They

may

be

specially

conserved

and

rigorously

protected

ecosystem

of

socio
-
cultural

value


To

which

one

could

also

put

in

ecological

values,

particularly

in

the

contemporary

context

of

rapid

land

use

conversions

and

linked

land

degradation

all

around
.

Socially Valued Human
-

managed
Ecosystems



With

traditional

societies

living

in

natural

resources

rich

regions

of

the

tropical

world,

being

dependent

upon

biodiversity

and

being

part

of

the

ecosystems

functioning,

the

natural

resources

contained

therein

are

critical

for

their

livelihood

requirement
.




In

such

a

context,

socio
-
cultural

dimensions

have

crucial

role

in

determining

ecosystem

properties,

with

implications

for

their

sustainable

management
.

Shifting

agriculture,

which

represents

a

complex

set

of

subsystems

within,

is

indicative

if

this

linkage

between

food

security

of

traditional

societies

and

their

efforts

towards

conserving

their

cultural

identity
.

Academic

Value of Biodiversity

An alternative angle of VISION

Applied

Academic value

Genetics

Evolution

Ecology

Systematics

Environment, Development and Technology


In the context of environmentally
-
sound technologies, the term
environment

will be predicated to mean any component of the
atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, or biosphere perceived as
inseparable components.



Development

will be taken to mean “development of human beings”,
namely, a process of
satisfaction of basic human needs and welfare
(Table 1.1), leading to the concept of needs
-
oriented development.
Technology
will be taken to mean modifier of the environment on the
one hand and as a negotiable commodity with a given set of “term of
exchange” on the other.



Table 1.1: A Simple List of Basic Needs and Welfare

Material Needs

Material Satisfiers

Material Satisfiers


Physiological Individual

Food, Water, Clothes,
Shelter

Creativity Identity

Impacts Model of Anthropogenic Economic


Cycles on Ecological Cycles

Environmentally Sound Technologies
(
Environmental Technologies
)


Environmentally
-
Sound

Technologies

(EnSTs)

may

be

defined

in

terms

of

the

sustainability

concept

as

technologies

whose

use

or

application

can

be

said,

or

demonstrated

to,




meet

the

needs

of

the

present

generation

without

compromising

the

ability

of

future

generations

to

meet

their

own

needs”

promoting

the

use

technology

assessment

as

a

tool

for

the

development

and

application

of

environmentally

sound

technologies

constitutes

environmentally

sound

technology

assessment

(EnSTA)
.

Major Pathways of Environmental Degradation


Environmental

degradation

is

the

deterioration

of

the

environment

through

depletion

of

resources

such

as

air
,

water

and

soil
;

the

destruction

of

ecosystems

and

the

extinction

of

wildlife




Environmental

degradation

is

one

of

the

ten

threats

officially

cautioned

by

the

High

Level

Threat

Panel

of

the

United

Nations
.

The

World

Resources

Institute

(WRI),

UNEP

(the

United

Nations

Environment

Programme),

UNDP

(the

United

Nations

Development

Programme)

and

the

World

Bank

have

made

public

an

important

report

on

health

and

the

environment

worldwide

on

May

1
,

1998
.



Environmental

degradation

is

of

many

types
.

When

natural

habitats

are

destroyed

or

natural

resources

are

depleted,

environment

is

degraded
.




Environmental

Change

and

Human

Health,is

initially

connect

a

special

section

of

World

Resources

1998
-
99
.

Eleven

million

children

die

worldwide

annually

in

the

developing

world

,

equal

to

the

combined

populations

of

Norway

and

Switzerland
,

and

mostly

due

to

malaria
,

acute

respiratory

infections

or

diarrhoea



illnesses

that

are

largely

preventable



Air


Global warming / Climate Change /

Green House Effect

Water

Photochemical Smog

Acid Rain

Ozone Layer Destruction

Eutrophication

Agricultural wastes
-
Pesticides / Fertilizers

Heavy Metals, Radioactive Isotopes.

Sewage / Sludge

Thermal Power plants

Soil


Solid Waste

Pesticide/Fertilizer

Erosion

Acidification

Pollution
-

leads to Environmental Degradation

Environmental Management vis
-
à
-
vis
Sustainable Development




Environmental

Management

Conservation / preservation

Restoration / Rehabilitation


Formulation of Environmental Laws

Environmental Monitoring

Environmental planning

Sustainable Development

Environmental Monitoring


Environmental changes occur naturally and are part of or the
result of multiple cycles and interactions.



Environmental scientist study the dynamics of cycles such as the
nitrogen, carbon and water cycle and their interrelationships.



Human now have a more holistic view of the environment and
recognize as many factors as possible to determine its health and
preservation.



This in turn has led to the new term
-

biocomplexity, which is
defined as “ The interdependence of elements within specific
environmental systems and interactions between different types of
systems”.


Environmental Monitoring

Definition:
it is the programmed observation and study of




environmental changes.




Its purpose is to assess the short
-
term fate to long
-
term


management.

Different Steps of Environmental Monitoring:


Observation



& (

Verification)


Measurement

Data (Selection Testing)

Information (Organization/



Interpretation)

Knowledge (Comprehensive



Integration)

Understanding (Judgment)

Wisdom

Different Types of Environmental Monitoring:


Biological

Physical
-

Chemical

Benefits of Environmental monitoring


Protection of Public Water supplies (Sources of water pollution,
treatment etc)


Hazardous, non hazardous and radioactive waste management
(Disposal reuse, possible impacts to human health & the
environment).


Urban Air quality.


Natural resources Protection and Management.


Weather Forecasting (Catastrophe
-
floods, droughts)


Economic Development & Planning (Resource allocation &
exploitation).


Population Growth (Demography, density pallemy in relation to
resource).


Delineation
-
Mapping of natural resources, soil classification,
wetland delineation, critical habitats etc.


Biodiversity of& Threatened Species


Global environmental Changes (Assessment & Control)

Environmental Remediation and
Restoration

These

Focus

on

the

development

and

implementation

strategies

geared

to

reserve

negative

environmental

impacts
.

Sanctuary:

The

State

Government

may

by

notification

declare

its

intension

to

constitute

any

area

than

area

comprised

with

any

reserve

forest

as

Sanctuary
-

if

it

consider

that

such

area

is

of

adequate

ecological,

faunal,

floral

geomorphological

significance

for

the

purpose

of

protecting

wild

life

or

its

environment
.


National Park:

Whenever,

it

appears

to

the

State

Government

that

an

area,

whether

within

a

Sanctuary

or

not

is

by

reson

of

its

ecological,

needed

to

be

constituted

as

National

Park

for

the

purpose

of

protecting

&

propagating

wild

life

there

in

or

its

environment,

it

may

be

notification,

declare

its

intension

to

constitute

such

area

as

National

Park
.


Evolution of Resource Base PRA




Technique
:




Secondary sources (e.g. files, reports, maps, aerial
photos);


Semi
-
structured interview;


Key informants (perhaps identified through
participatory social mapping);


Groups (e.g. focus groups) and group interviews;


Do
-
it
-
yourself (outsider asks to participate in
community activities);


They do it (villagers as investigators and researchers);


Participatory analysis of secondary sources (e.g. aerial
photographs);


Participatory mapping and modeling (similar to
planning
-
for
-
real);


Transect walks (walking with or by local people through
an area and observing/listening);


Time lines and trend and change analysis (e.g. major
remembered events in a village);


Oral histories and ethnobiographies;


Seasonal calendars (e.g. to track seasonal weather
changes, labour patterns, patterns of borroweing);


Daily time use analysis (e.g. tasks with time demands,
drudgery);


Livelihood analysis (stability, crises, coping
mechanisms, credit and debt, etc.);


Participatory linkage diagramming;


Institutional diagrams (identifying individuals or
instructions important to and for a community);


Well
-
being and wealth grouping and ranking;


Analysis of difference (e.g. by gender, age, social group,
occupation, wealth/poverty);


Matrix scoring and ranking (to score, perceived
performances of different seeds, trees, soil conservation
methods);


Estimate and quantification (to explore ‘what might
happen if…’);


Key probes (questions which can lead to key issues);


Stories, portraits and case studies;


Team contracts and interactions;


Presentation and analysis;


Sequences (use of a combination of several methods
in a given sequence);


Participatory planning, budgeting, implementation
and monitoring;


Group discussions and brainstorming;


Short standard schedules or protocols (for short and
quick questionnaires or to record data); and


Report writing (without delay, so that feedback is
instant).


Environmental Laws

For

the

Management

of

Environment,

the

main

legislative

measures

brought

about

in

India

are
:


Air

(Preservation

&

Control

of

Pollution)

Act

1981


Water

(Preservation

&

Control

of

Pollution)

1974


Water

(Preservation

&

Control

of

Pollution

and

Control

of

Pollution

Cess

Act)

environment

protection

Act,
1986


The

environment

(protection

)act,
1986


Wild

life

(protection)

act

1972

and

amended

1991


Forest

(Conservation)

Act,
1980


Biodiversity

act,

2002


Bio
-
Medical

waste

(Management

and

Handling)

Rules,
1998