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4: Biosphere

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    • 4.1: Prelude to the Biosphere
      Humanity and the natural world are inextricably linked. A growing appreciation for the importance of this fact led to the formation and publication of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment by the United Nations in 2005. It defines key concepts necessary for understanding how sustainable development can be achieved.
    • 4.2: Biogeochemical Cycles and the Flow of Energy in the Earth System
      If people are to live sustainably, they will need to understand the processes that control the availability and stability of the ecosystem services on which their well-being depends. Chief among these processes are the biogeochemical cycles that describehow chemical elements (e.g. nitrogen, carbon) or molecules (e.g. water) are transformed and stored by both physical and biological components of the Earth system. Storage occurs in pools, which are amounts of material that share some common chara
    • 4.3: Biodiversity, Species Loss, and Ecosystem Function
      You're probably familiar with the word, biodiversity, whether or not you can give an exact definition of it. It's common on the signs at zoos, parks, and nature centers, and it's often used without explanation or definition.
    • 4.4: Soil and Sustainability
      We will use this definition in this chapter. In common usage, the term soil is sometimes restricted to only the dark topsoil in which we plant our seeds or vegetables. In a more broad definition, civil engineers use the term soil for any unconsolidated (soft when wet) material that is not considered bedrock.

    4: Biosphere is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Heriberto Cabezas (GALILEO Open Learning Materials) .

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