Definitions and importance of the study of Physical geography: Geography is the science in which the study of ‘earth’s surface’ and description is done in context to human world and human habitation, in terms of its total characteristics and reciprocal relation. The earth’s surface is not evenly formed over the earth. Human actions also have their impact, everywhere in the field. Geography makes a detailed explanation of all of these. Therefore, it is said that geography is the science of distributions. It analyzes surface variations.
The following are the major definitions of geography:
1. According to Hatner: “The study of variation in the factors related to reasonably related different parts of the earth’s domains.”
2. According to the geographical dictionary: “Geography is the science of the earth’s surface and its inhabitants.”
3 According to the Hartshorne: “Geography is the science that explains the description and interpretation of the transformation from one place on earth to another, in the form of the human world.”
Importance of The Study of Physical Geography:
According to Richard Hartshorne, “The purpose of geography is to describe and explain the territorial / regional variation of the ground.”
In physical geography, detailed study of the Earth, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and the biosphere is done. The soil is formed by a certain process in which the climate plays an important role. Over time, the soil gets mature and this soil is helpful in the creation of the life and its survival.
Land forms are the basis on which human activities are performed. Different, types of human activities develop on different land forms and different types of cultural landscapes are formed. Plateau is generally a stock of minerals. Mountain areas are evolving as tourist destinations. The sources of rivers also exist there.
Study of climate in geography is important. Climate affects human habitat, their level of living, food, apparel and their culture. Vegetation, agriculture, animal husbandry, industry, etc. are also influenced by many climatic factors.
There are huge reserves of sea resources. Apart from fishes and other marine organisms, sea minerals have also been considered as reserves. India has developed the technique of collecting manganese ingots from the sea floor. Apart from this, various types of products are derived from sea organisms. Sea transport also plays an important role in transportation.
Soil is an important resource which is life – supporting, which can be improved and which can be kept fertile for more time. This is the basis of agriculture. It is the basis life of various of plants, animals and useful microbes. Its study is important in geography.
In essence, physical geography is currently developing as a topic related to the evaluation and management of physical resources. At present, many environmental problems are arising from the over – exploitation of natural resources. It is necessary for sustainable development that the physical environment is well – understood. From this point of view, the importance of physical geography can be considered paramount.