Ecosystem: Structure, types Components, and Ecosystem Restoration

Ecosystem: Definition

Karl Mobius coined the term Biocoenosis in 1877 to describe what we now know as the ecosystem. It was  A.G. Tansley in 1935 who was the first to use the later phrase. An ecosystem is a functioning and structurally distinct life-sustaining system.

Ecosystem: Structure

The Biotic and Abiotic components of habitat form an interacting environmental system in which inorganic ingredients are absorbed and transformed into the organic structure and reactive molecules by the living system. The so-built organic allows for life’s energy-exchange mechanisms.

The Abiotic components of an ecosystem, like air, water, and minerals, aid in the synthesis and maintenance of protoplasm, the life’s vehicle. Energy is exchanged in these processes, and the sun is the ultimate source of this energy. As a result, an ecosystem contains

 (I) Inorganic constituents (ii) Organisms (iii) Energy input.

The green plants are the only ones capable of trapping sunlight and transforming it into chemical energy, green plants are the primary producers in any ecosystem. Herbivores eat them, and carnivores eat them. Animals and plants perish and disintegrate organically sooner or later, primarily due to the activities of a slew of saprophytic bacteria (decomposers). The stored energy is now available to a new generation of creatures. The cycle continues to repeat itself. ‘Dust thou art, to dust thou returnent,’ says no one better. There is an energy transfer from one component to the next in this series. As a result, not only inorganic and organic debris but also energy is recycled. There is a balance between the members of the living components themselves, as well as the living components and environmental elements, within an ecosystem. However, such an equilibrium can only be achieved in a well-established ecosystem, i.e. one that is older. A correct balance is maintained between primary producers, primary consumers, primary carnivores, secondary carnivores, and decomposition agencies in such a system. A stable ecosystem has a recognized food chain and a well-established food web. Our entire planet is, in fact, a biosphere ecosystem.

Ecosystems of Different Types

Any analysis of ecosystems must take into account the entire biosphere, which is far too large and complex to comprehend the ecological relationships meaningfully. As a result, Terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, deserts, and grasslands are mentioned. Ponds, lakes, river systems, estuaries, and the sea are examples of Aquatic ecosystems. There are Man-made ecosystems that have been created for his benefit. These may consist of only one or a few species at most. The entire flow of energy is directed here towards a single goal: the creation of biomass to meet human needs. As a result, an ecosystem can be as little as a pond or a plot of land, or as huge as an ocean, desert, or forest. A biome is a huge ecological region with identical vegetation and climate (for example, a desert biome or a tundra biome), as well as all of the living animals that live there.

Living organisms exist in the biosphere, which is a portion of the earth and its atmosphere (including parts of the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, and the atmosphere). It is the world’s largest and most self-contained biological system. It encompasses all of the earth’s living species interacting with the physical environment as a whole to maintain a steady-state intermediate in the energy flow between the sun’s inputs and the thermal sink of space.

Any Ecosystem consists of two components

1. The Abiotic or non-living component

2. The Biotic component

The Abiotic component is made up of the soil, the minerals present in it, the decomposition products that got into through the decay of the dead remains, the water present in it as also the gaseous composition of the atmosphere, and last but not the least the climate of the region.

The Biotic component comprises all the different types of living objects present in the systems; the Autotrophs, the heterotrophs, macro consumers—including the hervibors, which are the primary consumers are also the phagotrophs which include animals that ingest other organic matter, present in the shape of other animals or as particulate matter. There are also the micro consumers, which are mainly the bacteria or fungi whose saprophytic activity decomposes the dead remains and releases the organic molecules and inorganic elements locked up in them into the soil.

Ecosystem Restoration

Energy flows from one component to another in an ecosystem. The ecological balance of an ecosystem is manifested by the maintenance of this cyclic flow of matter and energy. Already, almost every government in the world is putting a greater focus on maintaining this equilibrium, and institutions and organizations whose stated mission is environmental preservation have emerged. The government, too, is worried about an area’s environment and has created appropriate legislation to ensure the biosphere’s stability. The World Wildlife Fund, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the green peace movements are all examples. Several development projects have been stopped due to a lack of authorization from the Environmental Protection Agency. The massive expansion in the human population has put undue strain on several ecosystems, disturbing the ecological balance and putting humans and other forms of life in peril. It was in this setting that man became aware of his wrongdoings. He came to see hunting in a new light, seeing it not as an exciting pastime, but as an activity that must be stopped. To him, predators are no longer depredators, but rather a vital component of an ecosystem. He understood that unethical operations such as whale hunting, tiger hunting, and murdering deer, bison, and other animals had a significant impact on his financial well-being. Monoculture and overgrazing are now considered practices that need to be regulated. He realized the truth: he can only live if other kinds of life are permitted to live and that the time has come for him to reduce his population and activities so that forests do not shrink, rivers do not overflow, air does not pollute, and oceans do not become sullied. Man, the vandal, has begun to mend; he dreams of a man who loves animals and gazes at mountains covered in deep, green woods with streams gurgling below. Ecosystem science is a branch of science that is explored in greater depth for man to have control over both his environment and himself.

Man has now realized that the moment has come to rebuild the degraded ecosystem, which will lead to the restoration of the ecosystem. Ecosystem Restoration refers to any effort that aids in the recovery of a damaged ecosystem.

When a modern technologist creates a non-biodegradable set of chemicals, such as plastics, the cycling process is halted. These materials are not biodegradable, and as a result, they lock up molecules within themselves, causing all of the chemical energy they represent to be lost forever to an ecosystem. What was already deposited is no longer reversible. More of these commodities will undoubtedly disrupt the natural balance.

Every human being must take the necessary steps to increase ecosystem productivity and capacity to meet society’s basic demands. Ecosystem Restoration aids in the return of a self-developing ecosystem on a path to ultimate recovery.

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