The term biosphere (from Greek bios for life) comprises all parts of the system Earth in which life exists as well as all living beings – including man and all plants and animals used by them.
Life on Earth is concentrated mainly on the solid surfaces of Earth and the upper parts of the oceans. However, highly specialized lifeforms have been found in the deepest parts of the oceans and in the Earth crust in depths of 5 kilometers, too. The total mass of life on Earth has been estimated to exceed 1,800 billion tons. With 2,200 million tons a bit more than one thousandth of the total mass is attributed to animals.
Biodiversity is a key aspect of the biosphere, as a stable and preferably high number of different species is important for the stability of ecosystems. Therefore nature protection activities aim at preserving a high biodiversity despite manifold negative impacts of human activities on the system Earth.
Select a theme to see the list of case studies:
- Vegetation zones
- Agriculture – patterns from extensive to intensive agriculture
- Agriculture – irrigation patterns
- Agriculture – precision farming
- Agriculture – droughts and desertification
- Forest types – from Tundra to tropical rain forests
- Forestry – patterns and yield
- Deforestation – conflicts with nature protection
- Forest fires
- Phytoplankton blooms
- Biomass production and distribution
- Natural heritage – nature protection zones