Free «Ecosystems» Essay Sample
An ecosystem is a biological system composed of both living and nonliving units. The biotic components of the ecosystem include different species of fauna and flora. According to Grodzinski (1990), natural systems of the environment include a wide diversity of valuable animals, plants, and microorganisms, abundant in living beings water and air, farmlands, productive soils, forests and aquatic ecosystems, streams, lakes, rivers, and beautiful mountains, wilderness, coastal areas, wetlands, and groundwater.
The system keeps on changing, because of weather changes and increase in population, which exerts pressure on the limited resources that are available. This forces living organisms to adjust appropriately through migrations and better utilization of natural resources. The extent of the system is limited.
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There is interaction between the living organisms in the ecosystem. Living organisms act together in several ways. Human beings use some animals and plants as food. Most of the organisms cannot live without each other. The organisms within the ecosystem also interact with their environment, where they obtain resources.
The Northern Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem covers a large area in Iowa and Minnesota. Exclusive bird species of the area include bobolinks, diskcissels, and upland plovers. The established National Wildlife Refuge provides protection of the endangered ecosystem. Coral Reefs create an ecosystem of the marine world, which combines tiny algae plants named zooxanthellae and coral animals that live in coral tissue. Longleaf Pine Forests and Savannas make the ecosystem of the southeastern coastal United States. Over 98 percent of it has disappeared, because of its replacement with loblolly pine or slash pine plantations. This ecosystem is a home to many federally registered rare species.
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Ecology and environment are distinguished on the basis of some specific factors such as geographical position, longitude, latitude, and altitude above sea level. Climate is an essential factor that determines the diversity of animals, plants, and microorganisms in the ecosystem. The biome type is another significant factor, which is indicated by marine water, prairie, forests, the respective species of fauna and flora, specific organisms, and their adaptation to the environment. Another factor is soil that influences flora and fauna of the ecosystem with its nutrients.
There is an inherent equilibrium in ecosystems that produces a stable system of life on Earth. The activity of human beings frequently disrupts the balance of nature.
Population growth, technology, and the increase of human consumption threaten current global stability. Developing and industrialized world’s overpopulation will finally result in an irreversible effect on the ecosystem. Technological development makes Earth’s resources virtually inexhaustible. Human consumption places severe stress on natural processes of renewing some resources and depleting those resources that cannot be renewed. Important renewable resources such as water, air, soil, and wood are affected by anthropogenic activities and thus deliberately or inadvertently polluted.
The current rate of deforestation is attributed to the changing population factor that requires the utilization of land for agricultural purposes. The problem becomes substantial due to the changing structure of the population of some species in the ecosystem. Human activity has also led to appearance of new species and extinction of existing ones, affecting the previous balance of the ecosystem. Land pollution is mainly caused by human activities and their abuse of land resources. Urbanization and industrialization are the key reasons of land pollution.
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Ecosystem processes are affected by climate and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Human activity that influences climate change together with other factors has resulted in increased average Earth temperature. Presently, human activities contribute more to the problem of global warming than any other factors, and pollution is one of the most burning issues caused by human performance (Haldar, 2011).
In fact, global warming, which is the uncontrolled increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-atmosphere air and seas, has been observed since the middle of the twentieth century. This increase stems from deforestation and emission of the greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide that is produced by fossil fuels into the atmosphere. This causes the greenhouse effect that leads to global warming.
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The drastic changes in rainfall patterns, droughts, floods, rising sea levels, and cyclone are only a few consequences of global warming process. Several species of animals are endangered not only by deforestation and global climate differences. Even if those animals survive in protected areas, they may eventually become nonexistent because of climactic transformations and rising sea level.
As the climate became warmer, many species in the United States shifted their natural habitats northward, for instance butterflies and forest tree species, marine fish and plankton. Nearly 70 percent of the southern populations have become extinct. The northern populations have yet thrived. Thus, climate change affects the geographic distribution of species, animal migration, and the timing of seasons throughout the United States (Bonan, 2008).
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In comparison to other places, the local ecosystem incurs the same problems. Human activities and global warming have no boundaries. Only reduce of toxic substances emission and improved farming practices can maintain the ecosystem. Thus, some measures need to be taken for preserving the ecosystem from further degradation. There is a need for creation of protected areas in the parts of the ecosystem most affected by human performance, especially where balance of diversity is upset to a large degree. These protected zones need to be documented in order for the governmental authorities to establish enforcement measures to protect the affected areas. There is a need for a special fund to be created, which will support the environmental campaigns.
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To conclude, the ecosystem is a biological unit that is composed of both living organisms and nonliving elements that interact with each other and the environment. It is an extraordinarily complex environment of geologic, biological, atmospheric, and hydrologic components that make up weather and climate. Human activities and global warming disturb the established balance of the ecosystem. That is why certain measures should be taken to prevent future disasters. This complex approach can considerably help to promote sustainability of the ecosystem and the world’s biodiversity.