Ecosystem Definition – What is ecosystem?
What is ecosystem? In this post, what is ecosystem, we will read through ecosystem definition, ecosystem examples, features of the ecosystem, and types of the ecosystem in detail.
Different types of organisms are found in different types of environments on our planet earth. All living beings present on this planet earth are affected by the environment around them. All organisms found on planet earth form a specific system with their environment, which is called an ecosystem. This relationship between organisms and the environment is called ecology.
Another way to define what is ecosystem: An ecosystem is a natural unit that includes all the organisms, i.e. plants, animals, and molecules of a particular area, that interact with their abiotic environment to form a complete biological unit. Thus ecosystem is a unit of interdependent components that share the same habitat. Ecosystems usually form a number of food webs that show the interdependence of these organisms and the flow of energy within the ecosystem, in which they depend on each other for their habitat, food, and other biological activities.
The term “ecosystem” was first used in 1935 in a publication by British ecologist Arthur Tansley. The term was coined by Arthur Roy Clapham, who came up with the word at Tansley’s request.
In 1965, Odam gave a new definition to ecology, “the study of the structure and functions of nature“. Different scientists have given different definitions of an ecosystem. The simplest definition is ‘the study of the relationship between animals and plants and their relationship to the environment is called an ecosystem.’
An understanding of the ecosystem with an example
To understand an ecosystem, let us imagine a pond, where fishes, frogs, algae, aquatic flowers, and many other aquatic creatures live. All these are not only dependent on each other but are also interrelated with abiotic components like water, air, and land. This complete system of community, in which the mutual relationship of abiotic components and biotic components, constitutes the ecosystem.
What is ecosystem? – Features of ecosystem
- An ecosystem is a functional regional unit, which represents the sum total of all the organisms in a particular area and their physical environment.
- It is composed of three basic components: (a) energy component, (b) biotic (biome) component, and (c) abiotic or physical (habitat) component (land, water, and air).
- The ecosystem occupies a definite area in the biosphere.
- Any ecosystem is supervised in terms of units of time.
- There are complex ecological interactions between energy, biological and physical components, as well as interactions between different organisms.
- An ecosystem is an open system in which there is continuous input and outflow of energy and materials.
- Unless one or more controlling factors of the ecosystem are disturbed, the ecosystem is in a relatively stable homeostatic condition.
- Ecosystems are natural resources (ie represent natural resources)
- An ecosystem is a structured and well-organized system.
- The natural ecosystem has a system of built-in control. That is, if there is a change in one component of the ecosystem due to natural causes, then it is compensated by the change in the other component of the system, but if this change is caused by the economic activities of technology human beings so much that it affects the ecosystem. If the built-in control is more than the tolerance of the system, then the above change is not compensated and the ecosystem becomes disorganized and unbalanced, and environmental degradation and pollution started.
What is ecosystem? – Types of ecosystem
- Classification of ecosystem on the basis of habitat area – Habitat area determines the physical environmental conditions of a particular regional unit of the biosphere and the nature and characteristics of biological communities. Since there are regional variations in physical conditions, there are local variations in biological communities as well. On the basis of this concept, ecosystems are divided into two major categories:
(a) Terrestrial ecosystem – There are variations in terrestrial or terrestrial ecosystems according to the physical conditions and their effect on biological communities. Therefore, terrestrial ecosystems are further divided into several sub-divisions such as (a) highland or mountain ecosystems (b) low terrestrial ecosystems, (c) warm desert ecosystems, and (d) cold desert ecosystems. On the basis of specific studies and specific objectives, this ecosystem is divided into many smaller parts.
(b) Aquatic ecosystem – Aquatic ecosystem is divided into two major subsections – (a) Fresh water – Fresh water ecosystems are again divided into many parts – river ecosystem, lake ecosystem, Reservoir ecosystem, swamp ecosystem, etc. (b) Ocean ecosystem- Ocean ecosystems are divided into sub-types such as open ocean ecosystem, coastal glacial ecosystem, coral reef ecosystem, etc. Ocean ecosystems can also be divided into other forms. Such as ocean ecosystem and ocean-bottom ecosystem.
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- Classification of ecosystem on the basis of regional scale – Ecosystems are divided into many types for different purposes on the basis of regional scale or extent. The entire biosphere is the largest ecosystem. It is divided into two major types – (a) continental ecosystem, and (b) oceanic or oceanic ecosystem. According to the need, the regional scale can be reduced to a solitary organism (plant or animal). For example biosphere ecosystem, continental ecosystem, mountain, plateau, plain ecosystem, stream, lake, reservoir ecosystem, crop field ecosystem, cowshed ecosystem, solitary plant ecosystem, tree root or upper canopy ecosystem.
- Classification of ecosystem on the basis of use – Ecosystems can be divided into several types on the basis of different uses. For example, EP Odom (1959) has divided ecosystems into two major categories on the basis of net primary production and use of agricultural methods-
(a) Cultivated Ecosystem– Farmed ecosystems can be divided into several sub-types on the basis of the major crops. For example, wheat field ecosystem, fodder area ecosystem, etc.
(b) Uncultivated Ecosystems– Uncultivated ecosystems are known as forest ecosystems, upland, grassy ecosystems, barren-land ecosystems, marsh area ecosystems, etc.
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