Before there could be an evaluation of the effects that activities of the central Florida phosphate industry have on the natural environment existing in Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk, and Sarasota counties, there had to be a basic description of that environment. This is accomplished for the physical, geochemical, and radiation environments and for the terrestrial ecology of the 7-county area in Volume VI of Texas Instruments 7-volume environmental impact assessment. The physical environment pertains to the existing structure, natural surface features, and surface cover (scils). The geochemical environment is considered from the standpoint of the geochemistry of the phosphate ore body and its surrounding zones. Discussion of the radiation environment encompasses activities that redistribute radioactive elements. The terrestrial biota section reviews local vegetation types, important plant species within the types, and the abundance ratings of the terrestrial vertebrates that are present. Important wetlands biota is identified and the relative productivity of the communities and their overall biological importance addressed.