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ecosphereÖkosphäre (ger.)

  • 1) The region of space within a solar system that includes planets whose conditions are not incompatible with the existence of living things. (OED)

    Only a small zone about 75 million miles wide - out of the 4300 million that stretch between the sun and Pluto at its farthest pointprovides a planetary environment well-suited to the existence of life. We might call this zone the thermal ecosphere of the sun. Other stars may have such ecospheres of their own.

    Strughold, H. (1953). The Green and Red Planet: 43.

    The lower half of the troposphere, the narrow zone that sets the stage for life on our planet, has been termed the physiological atmosphere or the ecosphere
    Possony, S.T. & Rosenzweig, L. (1955). The geography of the air. Ann. Amer. Acad. Pol. Soc. Sci. 299, 1-11: 3.

    To be habitable, a planet must be inside the ecosphere.

    Dole, S.H. & Asimov, I. (1965). Planets for Man: 109.

  • 2) The global ecosystem of the earth or of another planet; the earth as a physical environment together with the organisms inhabiting it. (OED)
    biosphere biosphere

    Probably I should apologize for using a coined word like ‘ecosphere’, but it seems nicely to describe just what I want to discuss. It is intended to combine two concepts: the ‘biosphere’ and the ‘ecosystem’ […] the sum total of life on earth together with the global environment and the earth's total resources

    Cole, L.C. (1958) The ecosphere. Scientific American 198, 83-96: 83-4.


    I think it would be useful to propose a new term, viz. “ecosphere”, for that part of our sphere in which there is life together with the living organisms it contains. In the same way as the “biosphere” is the rough total of all living organisms, the “ecosphere” is the rough total of all ecosystems (of the hydro-ecosphere, the litho-ecosphere and the atmo-ecosphere).

    Gillard, A. (1969). On the terminology of biosphere and ecosphere. Nature 223, 500-501: 501.


    A concrete system is […] an ecosphere iff it is composed of a biosphere and its immediate environment.

    Mahner, M. & Bunge, M. (1997). Foundations of Biophilosophy: 173.


    The term ‘ecosphere’ is used in two ways: first, as name for the totality of life plus life-support systems, in which sense it is a synonym for the third meaning of ‘biosphere’; and second, as a term for zones in the universe where terrestrial-type life should be sustainable.

    Huggett, R.J. (1999). Ecosphere, biosphere, or Gaia? What to call the global ecosystem. Global Ecol. Biogeograph. 8, 425-431: 425.