Living and non-living things generally move about in the same environment. Their interactions and the way they affect one another is an essential thing to study. The following article provides an overview on what an ecosystem is and why it’s extremely relevant.
Basically, an ecosystem refers to different life forms and the cohesive form of relationship they create with other living and non living things. In essence, ecosystems are supposedly in balance particularly in terms of the relationship that both living and non living things have with each other. For instance, a balanced ecosystem has predators taking on prey while still keeping their population in check. Another example would be plant life remaining completely diverse without a dominant species. Knowing what is an ecological system is important because humans are also a part of it and understanding how it should work can also help humans bring balance to life.
Characteristics of an Ecosystem
Ecosystems can be distinguished through several characteristics. For instance, a swamp ecosystem refers to things that both live and exist within the natural bounds of the swamp. Likewise, a rainforest ecosystem will encompass all living and non living things that can be found within the rainforest. The most evident characteristic of ecosystems is that they thrive within a specific environment. Depending on the environment, the relationship of things living and existing within it varies. For instance, the way of hunting for predators in the jungle may be slightly different from the way it’s done at sea. There are also ecosystems which can be created artificially. Often, this can be observed when humans try to copy natural environments such as in aquariums. Another important characteristic of an ecological system is that it may function independently from other ecosystems.
Ecosystem and Energy Flow
Energy flow is extremely important for ecological systems. Basically, it is what keeps the whole system working. Energy flow is observed in the way living things prey on another. After preying on one life form, the organism or living thing will eventually produce their own waste products. These waste products are in turn consumed and processed by other living things. The cycle repeats and as energy is transferred from one species to another, the ecological system gains its much needed balance. Energy flow can also come from the sun. Plants process the sun’s light into their own food while other living organisms eat plants for their survival and own energy resource.
Ecological Systems and Relevance to People
Ideally, ecological systems should be in balance for all living and existing things to function better and avoid the risk of being endangered. Nonetheless, this is not the case. Ecosystems are hardly in balance. Most natural environments are heavily polluted now and populations of many living things have declined over the years. Since ecological systems provide majority of the resources that humans need to survive, it’s important to study what is an ecological system, how to bring back balance in it and how to safeguard its components. Humans are also part ecological systems and risking imbalance can pose serious repercussions.