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Last edited 06 Oct 2022
Biosphere is also often used to describe buildings that attempt to mimic the Earth's own systems by creating closed units that can be scientifically studied. These are more formally referred to biodomes which describes the typical building shape rather than the ecological system within it.
The first of such artificial systems to be built was the Biosphere 2, named as such acknowledging the Earth as Biosphere 1. It was built to investigate how Earth's ecological systems might be developed to function on other planets.
See also Biodome.
Somewhat confusingly the term biosphere is also used to describe designated open areas of land that are of significant ecological interest, where sustainable development balances conservation and people's lives (the conservation of biodiversity that includes human intervention and socio-economic activity). These are more formally called UNESCO Biosphere Reserves of which there are currently 714 areas worldwide (2022). There are some similarities to these and geoparks, although biosphere includes the total range of biotic and abiotic features whilst geoparks focus on the abiotc characteristics of a place. Bioparks, although significantly smaller in scale are more akin to the principles set out in biosperes.
Biomes is the more formal name for a community of vegetation and wildlife which has adapted to a specific climate, as such biosphere (human-made and natural) can have a number of different biomes, as can be seen with the Eden Project in the United Kingdom.
NB AR5 Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Glossary, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines the biosphere as: The part of the Earth system comprising all ecosystems and living organisms, in the atmosphere, on land (terrestrial biosphere), or in the oceans (marine biosphere), including derived dead organic matter, such as litter, soil organic matter, and oceanic detritus.’
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