Libmonster ID: UA-12168

by Alexei YABLOKOV, RAS Corresponding Member, RAS Institute of Biology of Development named after N. Koltsov (Moscow), Vladimir LEVCHENKO, Dr. Sc. (Biol.), RAS Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry named after I. Sechenov (St. Petersburg), Anatoly KERZHENTSEV, Dr. Sc. (Biol.), RAS Institute of Basic Biological Problems (Pushchino, Moscow Region)

It was Acad. Vladimir Vernadsky who wrote that modern man is a kind of "geological force" in terms of his influence on the biosphere. But this grandiose, not to say planetary, influence is chaotic as yet. This is due to misunderstanding of the importance of biosphere processes making the environment suitable for life, and underestimation of anthropogenic transformation of rotations of the substance, energy and information streams. Political and economic decisions are adopted proceeding from the paradigms of preceding epochs, while ecological situation on the planet is rapidly changing. The biosphere will convert into the noosphere, an interface between mankind and the nature where intelligent activities of people will become a driving factor of development, provided that man ("biosocial substance") learns how to control its evolution.

стр. 48

Some properties of evolution of the biosphere from the Phanerozoic to the Anthropocene: change in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, dynamics of formation of organic substance, accumulation of carbonates and development of big taxons of terrestrial organisms in the Phanerozoic (according to Levchenko, 2011). Cycles lasting about 200 mln years are likely associated with the rotation of the Solar System around the Galaxy center approximately with the same period.


Evolution of the biosphere during the Phanerozoic* (from the Cambrian to Anthropocene**) can be divided into cycles of 200 mln years. Duration of this period is close to the cycle of rotation of the Solar System around the center of the Galaxy. By the middle of each cycle, due to accelerating geological processes, liberation of gas from the depths of the planet increased (which led to a higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere), the climate was changing although with some time shift, and there emerged completely new groups of organisms. Some data prove cyclic variation of the oxygen content in the atmosphere, and changing level of the World Ocean. In addition, the planet experienced continental drift and disintegration of Pangea (ancient supercontinent).

Concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere before the Anthropocene (the last 2 mln years) was regulated by natural processes: "rapid" carbon cycle,

* The Phanerozoic--a period in geological history that started about 550 mln year ago and is lasting up till now; the Phanerozoic is considered to begin with the Cambrian (~542-485 mln years ago).--Ed.

**The Anthropocene--the term was introduced in 2000 by the Dutch chemist, expert in air chemistry Paul Crutzen (Nobel laureate of 1995) to mark the period of history when the anthropogenic impact on the environment became significant.--Ed.

connected with the vital activity of living organisms, and "slow" carbon cycle, linked with geological processes: CO2 is ejected with different intensity from terrestrial depths and accumulated in carbon-bearing rocks. Each geological epoch had its own atmospheric carbon balance.

Apparently by the Anthropocene, the basic natural sources enabling origin of the most efficient photosyn-thesizers producing the basic mass of organic substance on the surface of the planet (also known as plant producers) were depleted. This could be explained by limited resources of physiological and biochemical mechanisms of plants themselves and complicated structure of plant communities. Highly productive chlorophylls fed by solar radiation occurred long before the Anthropocene, and plant communities developed into complex, omnipresent, multilayer, and permutable structures, consuming almost all solar energy in the given environmental conditions. A good example of such superproductivity is present-day rain forests (with a minimal annual precipitation of 2,000-7,000 mm). In the past several tens of millions of years (including the Anthropocene), no new and more productive plant communities were observed.

стр. 49

Rotation of the matter in the biosphere before the Anthropocene.

Formation of a human being (Homo genus) is a natural phase in the biosphere development: by the moment a human being was born, the biosphere probably reached maximal complexity, which stimulated origin and rapid development of highly organized animals with the developed brain, communication skills, and sophisticated behavior, in particular, primates. This could have been hardly possible, had the biosphere been simpler with lesser biodiversity.

The origin of Homo sapiens as a species, in terms of evolution breaking out from purely biological regularities, means a fundamental change in evolution conditions of the biosphere: natural regularities (physical, chemical and biological) begin gradually to cede to anthroposocial conditions. That is why the concept of potential transition of the biosphere into the noosphere proposed in the 1920s by the Russian natural scientist and thinker Vladimir Vernadsky, French mathematician and philosopher Édouard Le Roy, and his compatriot geologist, paleontologist and Catholic philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, depicts a logically continuing evolution of the substance. However, the global environmental crisis caused by man shows that this transition--if it ever happens--will be highly painful both for the biosphere and man.


Global environmental crisis is characterized by thousandfold accelerated changes in evolutionarily established parameters of rotations of the substance (as a sum of genetic codes and their implementation) for the last century and a half, as compared with the epochs before the crisis.

Global and "eternal" pollutants (persistent organic pollutants, radionuclides, mercury, etc.), so called xe-nobiotics dangerous for all living organisms, have been penetrating into the biosphere. As a result of anthropogenic discharges of radioactive substances, the average background radioactivity on the surface of the planet is going up for the first time for the last hundreds of millions of years. As estimated, the total number of chemical substances and their compounds produced by mankind is over 250 thous. Even umbilical cord blood of newborns contains hundreds of alien substances.

Anthropogenic pollution of the atmosphere is becoming more and more severe. Annually, about 40 bin t of pollutants (over 6 t/man/year) are emitted to the air. In 2013, carbon dioxide concentration reached the maximum for at least the last 800 thous. years (or even 20 mln years).

The face of the planet exposed to the anthropogenic impact is also changing. Annually, over 100 bin t of minerals (14 t/man/year) are extracted, a comparable volume of soils is moved as a result of anthropogenic activities. A half of all water system flows of the planet is controlled and regulated. Forested area has been decreasing by 100,000 km2/year for the last 200 years, a half of tropical forests has been cut out (about 8 mln km2), by 2030 only 10 percent of all forests existing prior to the Anthropocene will preserve.

стр. 50

Rotation of the matter in the present-day biosphere: green arrows-natural rotation of the biomass; 1--a "rebound" effect of the anthropogenic products generated by natural reducers; 2--buried anthropogenic products; 3--extracted mineral resources; 4--anthropogenic biophilous substances (according to Kerzhentsev, 2006).

Scientists are registering anthropogenic changes of the climate revealing as an overall warming-up of the planetary surface, more frequent intensification of abnormal atmospheric phenomena, destabilization of precipitation, and rise of the level of the World Ocean (≈3 mm/year).

The biological diversity is decreasing. According to the estimates, a certain number of species is vanishing every day; all in all in the 21st century almost 50-80 percent of all species of living organisms will disappear. The main reason of anthropogenic extinction is devastation of natural habitats.

The World Ocean ecosystem is also being destroyed. For the last century, the World Ocean lost about 40 percent of its phytoplankton as a result of acidulation caused by absorption of carbon dioxide. The number of big fishes has reduced by 90 percent. Population of 30-40 percent of commercial fish species is declining to a dangerous level. Pollution is increasing: in some water areas the mass of plastic particles exceeds the natural mass of phytoplankton almost sixfold. Enormous waste islands are being formed, "dead zones" are expanding (by 10 times in the Baltic Sea for the last century).

Researchers register growth of the "genetic burden". Local splash of frequency of chromosome aberrations under chemical and radiation pollution confirms that the information flow in the biosphere (in the form of transfer of genetic codes from one generation to another) is growing more and more "dull" in terms of genotoxic changes of the environment.

The facts above mean that as a result of the global environmental crisis the biosphere as a single system is losing its integrity and self-control, or "goes to pieces".


Biospheric rotation of the substance and energy streams is supported by the "producer (synthesis of complex organic substances from inorganic substances by autotrophs and chemotrophs)--consumer (transformation of a complex organic substance)--reducer (decomposition of complex organic substances)" system formed during evolution of the Earth. Prior to the Anthropocene, this process was very stable, almost closed (around 1 percent of the matter "drops out") and well "tuned".

Man not only consumes an organic substance but also produces it in the form of agrophytocenoses. Now, he is both the producer and the consumer. But, if in terms of production it can be compared with the scale of work of pre-Anthropocene producers, consumption is totally different. It undermined local and global rotations of the matter and energy streams formed in the course of evolution of the biosphere. The mass of natural producers (deforestation) and reducers (soil plowing and "sealing") decreased, while the mass of consumers increased (population of the Earth exceeded 7 bln people, agricultural animals count several billions). Another significant factor is introduction of a great volume of extracted minerals into the biospheric rotation, which has never happened before.

стр. 51

To restore the disturbed planetary balance in the "producer-consumer-reducer" system, we need to act as reducers: to transform production wastes into the simplest compositions that can be used by other living organisms. We should recycle anthropogenic products to return to the biospheric rotation the substance taken from it.

To restore the disturbed biospheric balance, mankind should also correct (or, perhaps, expand) production of the primary organic substance, i.e. strengthen its positions of a producer.

Unfortunately, it must be noted here that at present people use mineral resources and energy excessively. In many aspects, this is a result of persistent Neolithic models: we treat the biosphere as an inexhaustible resource for development, not as a life-supporting and sovereign element of life.

If man acts in the biosphere as a consumer, producer, and reducer (the third basic environmental function), he will be able to turn from the chaotic "geological force" into a reasonable master, "brain" of the biosphere. If this ever happens, we would undoubtedly consume less energy and mineral resources than are now used inefficiently (97-98 percent are converted into wastes), which is an important violation factor of life-supporting functions of the natural environment. Man would be able to slacken resource and consumption pressure on the biosphere, which would reduce tension caused by the global environmental crisis and facilitate transition to the noo-sphere.

The approach briefly depicted above lies at the root of the concept known as "management of biosphere evolution in crisis". It appears that this very approach overcomes methodological limitations of the "sustainable development" concept at all, within the framework of which the biosphere as a sovereign element of life is not considered but are discussed only economically advantageous measures (usually in short-term perspective) at local levels. To overcome the global environmental crisis, it is required, first of all, to restore the balance of planetary rotations.


The anthropocentric perception of the biosphere only as a "reservoir of life" and inexhaustible resource is simplistic and insufficient. Biosphere is a sovereign element of life uniting all living elements including man into the "web of life", as Fritjof Capra, an Austrian-born American physicist called it. This web in the form of inert (non-living substance), bioinert (ocean, soil, air) and living substance produces a "biosocial substance" that could have become a "sphere of mind", or the noosphere. In 1926 Acad. Nikolai Vavilov introduced a scientific term "manageable evolution" relating to artificially generated crop plants. Today it would be reasonable to extend this term--manageable evolution of the whole biosphere. It may happen that the model of manageable evolution will become a leading paradigm of development of mankind for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, it can be treated as an "incarnation" of the concept "Man and Biosphere" formulated in the late 1950s-early 1960s and used as an ideological foundation for the "sustainable development" concept. However, implementation of the manageable evolution ideas is suspended due to the outbreak of the global environmental crisis.

Modern technologies and theoretical works enable us to gradually correct violated and restore ruined life-supporting ecosystems on local, regional, and global levels, thus reconstructing dynamic balance of the biosphere disturbed in the Anthropocene. Below are given some of the practical actions to restore the disturbed ecosystems (or elements of the biosphere evolution management in crisis): creation of seminatural highly productive ecosys-

стр. 52

tems (for example, by way of targeted selection to improve efficiency of use of solar energy by plants to accelerate photosynthesis or intensify photosynthesis in terms of increased CO2 concentrations); transition from monocultures to multicultures in agriculture, from trade to farming in relation to all extracted (industrial) living natural resources; transition from "fighting" against undesirable species to control their numbers (correspondingly, no further invasion of xenobiotics specially introduced into the environment. Rapid expansion of the range of cultivated and home-grown species. Development of new forms of living organisms (for example, more efficient reducers capable to treat chlorinated hydrocarbons such as DDT and PCB, as well as other organic pollutants). Finally, reliable isolation of "eternal" pollutants (for instance, solution of the problem of disposal of radioactive wastes).

To cure the biosphere, it is necessary to ensure targeted restoration and protection of life-supporting functions of the biosphere from further degradation. It can partially be achieved by way of expansion of the system of specially protected natural areas (to free the nature from anthropogenic impact). Besides, by saving biological diversity, decreasing genotoxic burden on the human and natural genetic bank, decreasing amounts of consumed resources and energy by means of new technologies.

Transition from inorganic to organic technologies could have become a systemic change on the way to management of the biosphere. They pressupose a targeted replacement of all inorganic structural materials (including metals) by organic materials that can be utilized by organisms-reducers. In general, it is necessary to move towards use of recyclable energy sources.

Such a shift to the crisis management of biosphere development will require participation of specialists in practically all scientific disciplines. And the main philosophic question will be "What does man really want?".

To sum it up, it is necessary to say that a human being is both subject and object of a controlled evolution of the biosphere. Man restores ecosystems violated by himself and develops life-supporting technologies, thus creating the noosphere. Will this approach be implemented in the course of evolution of the biosphere or will the nature vote for its self-liberation from man as an "erroneous zigzag" of global evolution (as the British scientist James Lovelock once said)? The answer will to a certain extent be determined by the depth of understanding of the scale and consequences of disturbances of natural processes during the Anthropocene and human abilities to make necessary efforts toward controlled evolution of the biosphere during the crisis.

The article has been prepared on the basis of the report delivered at the State Darwin Museum at the 2nd International Conference "Contemporary Problems of Biological Evolution" (March 11-14, 2014).


Permanent link to this publication:

Similar publications: LRussia LWorld Y G


Україна ОнлайнContacts and other materials (articles, photo, files etc)

Author's official page at Libmonster:

Find other author's materials at: Libmonster (all the World)GoogleYandex

Permanent link for scientific papers (for citations):

Alexei YABLOKOV, Vladimir LEVCHENKO, Anatoly KERZHENTSEV, TRANSITION TO CONTROLLED EVOLUTION OF THE BIOSPHERE // Kiev: Library of Ukraine (ELIBRARY.COM.UA). Updated: 20.11.2021. URL: (date of access: 30.11.2021).

Found source (search robot):

Publication author(s) - Alexei YABLOKOV, Vladimir LEVCHENKO, Anatoly KERZHENTSEV:

Alexei YABLOKOV, Vladimir LEVCHENKO, Anatoly KERZHENTSEV → other publications, search: Libmonster UkraineLibmonster WorldGoogleYandex


Reviews of professional authors
Order by: 
Per page: 
  • There are no comments yet
Related topics
0 votes
Related Articles
А вообще весь этот кейс с комиками во власти заставил понять, что киношный сценарий разительно отличается от реальной большой политики, где побеждает трезвый, незамутненный запрещенными веществами ум, холодный расчет и опыт – как обязательные составляющие личности, дерзающей определять путь миллионов человек.
Catalog: Разное 
11 hours ago · From Naina Kravetz
Когда менять резину на зимнюю в 2021 году?
24 hours ago · From Україна Онлайн
Запрещает ли PayPal азартные игры?
Catalog: Экономика 
2 days ago · From Україна Онлайн
6 days ago · From Україна Онлайн
Аварии на топливе Westinghouse случались и ранее, начиная с 1979 года, когда произошла крупнейшая в истории США авария на АЭС Три-Майл-Айленд, в результате которой зафиксировано расплавление 50% активной зоны реактора. Далее Westinghouse делала попытки торговать с Чехией, однако опасные эксперименты по замене оригинального топлива окончились досрочной его выгрузкой из 1-го энергоблока АЭС Темелин в январе 2007 года, по причине его сильной деформации. Вышедшие из строя вэстингхаусовские тепловыводящие сборки на 3-м энергоблоке Южно-Украинской АЭС были в экстренном порядке заменены на стандартные ТВЭЛовские.
Catalog: Экология 
7 days ago · From Naina Kravetz
Catalog: История 
9 days ago · From Україна Онлайн
10 days ago · From Україна Онлайн
10 days ago · From Україна Онлайн
Безопасно ли брать кредит в Интернете?
Catalog: Экономика 
11 days ago · From Україна Онлайн
Знакомьтесь! Google: Платформа для маркетинга
11 days ago · From Україна Онлайн

Actual publications:


ELIBRARY.COM.UA is an Ukrainian library, repository of author's heritage and archive

Register & start to create your original collection of articles, books, research, biographies, photographs, files. It's convenient and free. Click here to register as an author. Share with the world your works!

Watch out for new publications: News only: Chat for Authors:

About · News · For Advertisers · Donate to Libmonster

Ukraine Library ® All rights reserved.
2009-2021, ELIBRARY.COM.UA is a part of Libmonster, international library network (open map)
Keeping the heritage of Ukraine


US-Great Britain Sweden Serbia
Russia Belarus Ukraine Kazakhstan Moldova Tajikistan Estonia Russia-2 Belarus-2

Create and store your author's collection at Libmonster: articles, books, studies. Libmonster will spread your heritage all over the world (through a network of branches, partner libraries, search engines, social networks). You will be able to share a link to your profile with colleagues, students, readers and other interested parties, in order to acquaint them with your copyright heritage. After registration at your disposal - more than 100 tools for creating your own author's collection. It is free: it was, it is and always will be.

Download app for smartphones