Environmental factor

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An environmental factor in the sense of an ecological factor or eco-factor is a quantity that influences the viability of an organism . It can either be beneficial or harmful.

One differentiates:

A species has a certain range of tolerance towards the variability of an environmental factor, this characterizes its ecological potential . Whenever possible, an individual of the species will always try to be in the so-called preference range , i.e. H. as close as possible to the respective optimum, which, however, is often prevented by interspecific competitors .

The limiting factor is the environmental factor that is furthest away from its optimum and that determines biological reactions such as growth rate or biomass production. In connection with plants, the factor is also called the minimum factor (→ Liebig's law of the minimum ).


  • Horst Bickel, Roman Claus, Detlef Ecklebrecht, Gert Haala, Günther Wichert: NATURA - Biology for high schools , 1st edition for North Rhine-Westphalia, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-12-043720-4
  • Hans Knodel / Ulrich Kull: Ecology and environmental protection , JB Metzler, Stuttgart 1974, ISBN 3 476 20068 X

Web links

Wiktionary: Environmental factor  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Ulrich Sommer : Biological Oceanography . Springer, 2005, ISBN 978-3-662-49881-1 , pp. 399 .