A biophysical environment is a biotic and abiotic surrounding of an organism or population, and consequently includes the factors that have an influence in their survival, development, and evolution. A biophysical environment can vary in scale from microscopic to global in extent. It can also be subdivided according to its attributes. Examples include the marine environment, the atmospheric environment and the terrestrial environment. The number of biophysical environments is countless, given that each living organism has its own environment.
All life that has survived must have adapted to the conditions of its environment. Temperature, light, humidity, soil nutrients, etc., all influence the species within an environment. However life in turn modifies, in various forms, its conditions. Some long-term modifications along the history of the planet have been significant, such as the incorporation of oxygen to the atmosphere. This process consisted in the breakdown of carbon dioxide by anaerobic microorganisms that used the carbon in their metabolism and released the oxygen to the atmosphere. This led to the existence of oxygen-based plant and animal life, the great oxygenation event.
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.
Environmentalism is a broad social and philosophical movement that, in a large part, seeks to minimise and compensate the negative 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.
One of the studies related include employing Geographic Information Science to study the biophysical environment.