Natural environment

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Humans have shaped their natural environment since the Stone Age : here the Lüneburg Heath , created by overgrazing previously existing forests .
The carbon cycle is a global material cycle in which humans intervene massively by removing fossil fuels and emitting CO 2 -rich exhaust gases into the natural environment.
For industrialization , hard coal and lignite that could not be regenerated were taken from the natural environment, and smoke and CO 2 that could not be degraded or only to a limited extent were emitted into the air .

Natural environment is a term that is mainly used in biology ( zoology , botany ), ecology , geosciences and economics .


The natural environment is understood to mean the characteristic occurrence of a species in a specific geographical and climatic region and in the vicinity of other organisms or natural factors. In biology, the characteristic habitat of a species is denoted by the term habitat .

The natural environment is a complex system that includes the elements or subsystems of living beings , the earth's atmosphere (the air ), the hydrosphere (the entirety of water ), the lithosphere (the soil with mineral resources ) and the relationships between them.

As an ecosystem , the natural environment can be understood in such a way that it is composed as a total of diverse functional units, consisting of living organisms and inanimate nature. A prerequisite for the existence of the system of the natural environment on earth is solar energy , which comes from the sun , i.e. from outside the system.

Man and his natural environment

The man - as well as other living organisms - satisfied from its natural environment his immediate vital needs (eg air to. Breathe , water to drink, food ). In addition, he wins from their raw materials such as minerals , timber , raw materials from collected plants , captured fish and wildlife , as well as agricultural commodities , the production of goods used ( energy , building materials , materials ) and so directly as consumer products or indirectly as capital goods the consumption serve . Finally, the natural environment also serves to absorb material and energetic residues from production and consumption, i.e. H. Garbage , sewage and exhaust gases as well as waste heat .

Of the natural resources, mineral resources including fossil fuels are not renewable, others such as renewable raw materials (plants, animals ) only grow back to a limited extent. The residues (rubbish) left in the natural environment are not or only partially degraded. If more resources are taken from the natural environment than can be regrowed or if more residues are left behind than can be broken down, this results in environmental pollution .