Natural Territorial Complex

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Natural Territorial Complex


(geographic complex, geosystem), a regular combination of natural geographic components (the earth’s crust and its relief, bodies of water, air masses, soils, and communities of organisms), which form a whole material system; one of the fundamental concepts of physical geography, widely used in landscape science and geography.

Within a natural territorial complex, the various components of the natural environment develop as parts of a whole. Their reciprocal relationships are manifested in the exchange of matter and energy. Often, change in even one of its components leads to a restructuring of the entire natural territorial complex. At the same time, a natural territorial complex has a certain stability and a tendency to restore itself after disturbance by external factors, including human actions.

There are different levels (ranks) of natural territorial complexes: planetary (the geographic mantle), regional (landscape zones, provinces, and landscapes), and topographical geosystems (localities, natural boundaries, and facies). Regional and topographical natural territorial complexes are structural parts of the geographic mantle that have developed as a result of the territorial differentiation of the mantle. Higher-level geosystems may be viewed as manifestations of the integration of lower-ranking natural territorial complexes.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.