From Big Medical Encyclopedia

BIOSPHERE (grech, bios life + sphaira a sphere) — the cover of Earth inhabited by live organisms.

The term «biosphere» was offered in 1875 by the Austrian scientist E. Zuss. The doctrine about B. is developed by the Russian scientist — the academician V. I. Vernadsky.

B. includes the bottom atmospheres (see), the hydrosphere (a water cover) and an upper part of a lithosphere — crust (a firm cover). B.'s power — several tens of kilometers. Biomass — the mass of «living material» — 1019 — 1021. Biotic and abiotic factors of B., constantly interacting, form ecosystems (see. Biogeocenosis , Biotope , Biocenosis ), in which cycle of matter takes place. In the metabolism occurring in B., the leading role belongs to live organisms. They are capable to acquire solar energy and on its base in process photosynthesis (see) to form complex organic compounds (green plants) of simple chemical elements, to acquire these connections (animal) and to turn organic matters into mineral salts and gases (bacteria and fungi). Live organisms play an essential role in creation of modern chemical composition of the atmosphere, composition of salt in solution of waters, in formation of the soil.

The person as a part of ecological system is connected with the environment and is influenced by its influence: some diseases of the person (a local craw, a fluorosis, a mountain disease, etc.) are caused by geochemical and geophysical features of B., others — activity of the organisms living in B. (activators, carriers and infection carriers). On the other hand, people actively change the nature, widely using for economic needs of animals, plants, minerals. Active deforestation, extermination of animals, development of a water and wind erosion as a result of the wrong farming, a shallowing of the rivers etc. breaks natural balance in B. Krome togo, B. gets littered with various waste products, industrial and household drains, slags. All this exerts an adverse effect on health of the person and threatens his existence on Earth. In this regard the main objective of the present is improvement B.

For this purpose in the Soviet Union and other countries the numerous events directed to environmental control are held. The international program «Person and Biosphere» is also directed to implementation of this task (see. Environment ).

Bibliography: The biosphere, the lane with English, under the editorship of M. S. Gilyarov, M., 1972; Vernadsky V. of II. Sketches of geochemistry, L., 1934.

A. G. Voronov.