ENVIRONMENT (BIOPHYSICAL)

The biophysical environment is the biotic and abiotic surrounding of an organism, or population, and includes particularly the factors that have an influence in their survival, development and evolution. The naked term environment can make reference to different concepts, but it is often used as a short form for the biophysical environment. This practice is common, for instance, among governments, that usually name their departments and agencies dealing with the biophysical environment with denominations like Environment Agency. Whereas the expression "the environment" is often used to refer to the global environment, usually as referred to humanity, the number of biophysical environments is countless, given that it is always possible to consider an additional living organism that has its own environment.

Constituents
The biophysical environment can vary in scale from microscopic to global in extent. They can also be subdivided according to their attributes. Some examples may be the marine environment, the atmospheric environment and the terrestrial environment.

Life/environment interaction
Life has to be adapted to its environment conditions. Temperature, light, humidity, soil nutrients, etc., all this has an influence in the species that can inhabit a particular environment. But life is not passive, and its activity modifies in various forms the environment conditions. Some long term modifications along the history of our planet have been dramatic, like the incorporation of oxygen to the atmosphere. The process consisted in the break down of carbon dioxide by anaerobic microorganisms that used the carbon in their metabolism, and released the oxygen to the atmosphere, and thanks to this, plant and animal life, that need oxygen, could emerge (Great oxygenation event). Other interactions are more immediate and simple, like the effect that forest trees have in the smoothing of the temperature cycle, compared to non protected neighboring areas.

Environmental science
Environmental science is the study of the interactions within the biophysical environment. Part of this scientific discipline is the investigation of the effect of human activity on the environment. Ecology, a sub-discipline of biology and a part of environmental sciences, is often mistaken as a study of human induced effects on the environment. Environmental studies is a broader academic discipline that is the systematic study of interaction of humans with their environment. It is a broad field of study that includes the natural environment, built environments and social environments.

Environmentalism is a broad social and philosophical movement that, in a large part, seeks to minimise or eliminate the effect of human activity on the biophysical environment. The issues of concern for environmentalists usually relate to the natural environment with the more important ones being climate change, species extinction, pollution and old growth forest loss.