We live surrounded by artificial ecosystems, some on a large scale and others really small. We create many of them for pure leisure or aesthetic taste, while others are necessary for our way of life. Due to their abundance and importance in our daily lives, it is worth stopping to observe them since, on many occasions, they go unnoticed.
If you want to learn more about an artificial ecosystem, its characteristics, and examples of artificial ecosystems, join us in this AgroCorrn article.
What is artificial ecosystem – characteristics
By artificial ecosystem definition, an ecosystem is a specific environment in which the vital processes of the living beings that form it are interrelated. Living beings are related to each other, but they are also related to the non-living elements of said ecosystem.
Ecosystems, however, can be divided into natural ecosystems and artificial or humanized ecosystems. In artificial ecosystems, which we are dealing with here, humans intervene by controlling part or all of the environmental conditions.
These conditions include the diversity of plant and animal species present in the environment, the type of soil, the contribution or not of rain or water, and any other thermal or atmospheric variable.
Here we must differentiate humanized or artificial ecosystems from modified natural ecosystems. The former has been created by man’s hand, and most of their conditioning factors are consciously controlled by human intervention. On the other hand, the latter are natural ecosystems in which man has influenced in some fire directly or indirectly changes, such as the eradication of a specific species. The natural ecosystems modified are a type of artificial ecosystem because, without human intervention can not occur.
Like any other ecosystem, an artificial ecosystem consists of biotic and abiotic factors. Biotics are the plants, animals, and other living beings present, while abiotics are the non-living elements. The natural abiotics represent elements such as air or water, while the abiotics are usually the structures and constructions that man has erected.
Another of the main characteristics of the artificial ecosystem is that it needs to be fed with artificial sources of energy and what it has around the sun. With these devices, you can operate the different devices needed to survive, like boilers or lighting.
In this other AgroCorrn article, we tell you in detail what an ecosystem is.
Artificial ecosystem examples
In general, we can say that there are 3 types of artificial ecosystems.
Urban ecosystems are those that are created around urban areas. They are characterized by having a high negative impact on the natural habitats and are the most artificial. One of the examples of an artificial urban ecosystem is cities.
To expand this information, you may be interested in knowing the Characteristics of the rural and urban ecosystem.
Agricultural or agricultural ecosystems
Agricultural or agricultural ecosystems are created to provide human beings with products for the food industry. Without them, the current way of life could not exist, based on our sedentary character.
According to the management of their crops, they are divided into ecological management or conventional management. The first attempts to affect the rest of the environment as little as possible and reduce the human footprint, so natural products are used, and chemicals are dispensed with, in favor of crop rotation and seed replanting techniques. On the other hand, conventional management prioritizes the intensive aspect of the crop and uses pesticides, fertilizers, and slurry to maximize production in the short term.
We can find agricultural ecosystems for raising livestock, subsistence farming, such as that practiced by traditional agricultural peasants, and monocultures, where a single large-scale crop is produced.
Dam or reservoir ecosystem
The third and last great artificial ecosystem type is the ecosystems of dams or reservoirs. In them, the hand of a man drastically modifies the environment creating large bodies of water where there were not before by intervening on the natural course of the water. This leads to the appearance of new forms of flora and fauna and the weakening or disappearance of others adapted to the previous conditions.
Difference between natural and artificial ecosystem and their examples
We have already seen that the main and most marked difference between both ecosystems is the intervention of human hands in them. However, more things set them apart. Agricultural land is another example of an artificial ecosystem. The criteria explained are verified in all ecosystems.
These are some of the main differences between artificial and natural ecosystems :
- Natural ecosystems tend to have a great variety of flora and fauna species, much lower than artificial ones. Because of this, the genetic diversity of artificial ecosystems is also much lower, with all the problems that this entails in the long run.
- The food chains of artificial ecosystems are also much simpler than those of natural ones, and they are often not complete since humans tend to feed the species that interest them themselves.
- And finally, in artificial ecosystems, there is usually no ecological succession. They are almost always unsustainable in the long term due to pollutants, fossil fuels, and non-renewable energy sources.
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