Earth life is a particular realization of general self-organizing abilities of matter (see Phenomenon of Life: General Aspects). There are no facts concerning other forms of life for comparison, but, probably, some features of Earth life have random character. In the same time, only on the basis of biological data, one can draw a generalization about nature of life.

Life has multilevel hierarchical structure. All the layers are closely connected and form a single whole; for understanding of global ecosystems, it is necessary to understand lower ones and vice versa. Recently, it has become more and more clear that life can be studied as a global phenomenon only. Separate organisms and biological systems are parts of the whole; they cannot be considered in isolation from their biological environment. In this article, which is devoted to ecological understanding of life, exactly such a global approach will be applied.

Global approach gives also the possibility to study general tendencies of life development. In the situation of the recent ecological crisis, it is extremely important to estimate the current situation and generate ideas concerning its improvement.

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