When we think about climate change, we are aware that it is a change in climate on a large scale and that it takes place as a consequence of human actions on the planet. However, the climate is a system that is constantly changing by itself. In this way, regardless of human actions, we find that ecosystems manifest themselves as the living entities that they are, changing and adapting to new circumstances that may occur. In this way, we can find natural changes and artificial changes that affect ecosystems and that modify them, sometimes for the better and others for the worse.
If you want to know some examples of natural and artificial changes in ecosystems , as well as the consequences that these have on these systems, keep reading AgroCorrn and we will tell you about it.
What are ecosystems
When speaking of ecosystem , reference is made to a system that is made up of two main elements: the living beings that make it up and the physical space in which these living beings inhabit. In this way, to speak of an ecosystem is to speak of a biological system that is delimited within a specific physical space.
Because the physical space is one of the key elements when determining the characteristics of an ecosystemIt is possible to speak of as many ecosystems as there are physical spaces, as long as there is biological activity in them. In this way, there are some well-known ecosystems, such as forests, seas or rivers, mountains, or even deserts. However, it is also fair to speak of ecosystems when we refer to spaces where biological life has adapted to very particular conditions, such as those that occur in marine trenches, in underground caves or, simply, those that occur in cities and human population centers, which are also ecosystems in themselves, although with a marked artificial character as they are linked to the human being.
On the other hand, one of the elements that cannot be avoided when talking about ecosystems is that, beyond the importance of mentioning spaces where different species have their habitat, these species establish relationships with each other. These relationships can be of many types, from cooperation and symbiosis to predation or competition with each other. All of this constitutes the intrinsic nature of the ecosystem, which must be understood as a single unit despite being clearly composed of a multiplicity.
Discover in this other article much more about What is an ecosystem , because we tell it in a very complete and simple way.
Causes of ecosystem changes
One of the elements that must also be considered when talking about ecosystems is that, although they are systems, which implies a certain intrinsic order in themselves, they are systems open to change . That is, ecosystems tend to balance naturally , but if a new element appears that modifies said balance, a change will be generated in the ecosystem, which will tend to assume it as its own and try to adapt to said change. However, success or failure in adapting to this change will determine the survival of the ecosystem as a whole.
In this way, it is the new elements that allow changes in ecosystems to take place . In this sense, a new element can be a disease that affects a part of the trophic chain, which will cause that, even if it only affects one species, the entire ecosystem as a whole is affected by the domino effect that this will generate. Or there can also be a change in an ecosystem due to something as simple as climatic changes in the environment that modify the presence of rainfall, causing there to be more or less vegetation.
One of the factors that must be taken into account when changes in ecosystems take place is that, the slower these changes are, the more possibilities the ecosystem in question will have of surviving these changes, since it will have more possibilities of successfully adapt to the new tessitura. On the contrary, if the changes manifest themselves very quickly, it is very likely that many species will be unable to adapt to the new modifications and, consequently, may end up disappearing or becoming extinct from said ecosystem.
Examples of natural and artificial changes in ecosystems and differences
One of the problems with artificial changes in ecosystems (that is, caused by humans) is that they are changes that take place very quickly. In this way, most species cannot adapt to these changes and end up being displaced or suppressed from the ecosystem. In contrast, natural changes in ecosystems tend to occur more slowly, allowing species to adapt more successfully and consequently have a better chance of survival . However, there are natural changes that can also lead to major extinctions and catastrophic changes to ecosystems.
Here are some examples of natural and man-made or artificial changes in ecosystems, which help us understand the wide variety of possibilities that exist when talking about changes in environments or ecosystems:
Examples of natural changes in ecosystems
- Droughts or floods: the success of ecosystems is usually linked to the regular presence of water, the modification of these water cycles can lead to important changes in ecosystems. In this other article you can learn more about what is drought, its causes and consequences .
- Natural changes in temperatures: another important factor is temperature, when it varies irregularly, important changes take place in ecosystems.
- Appearance of diseases: without a doubt, the appearance or disappearance of diseases that affect specific species is one of the elements that can most modify a population in an ecosystem.
- Earthquakes or natural disasters: these types of situations, even if they are natural, entail very rapid changes in ecosystems, which means that species cannot adapt and many of them die. In this sense, one can speak from earthquakes , fires or volcanoes, to even the impact of an asteroid, which can cause mass extinctions despite being a natural phenomenon.
Examples of man-made changes in ecosystems
- Deforestation: one of the changes that humans promote in ecosystems and that have the most impact is deforestation , since it eliminates the base of most ecosystems, which is the plant mass.
- Introduction of alien species that are invasive: humans can also produce changes in ecosystems by modifying the species that are present in it. In this sense, the introduction of exotic animals or from different geographical regions can wreak real havoc on the ecosystems where they are introduced.
- Chemical pollution: one of the types of pollution that humans produce and that causes the most damage to ecosystems is chemical pollution. That is, one that is made up of particles so small that they mix with the environment, contaminating soil, water and air.
- Light pollution: another type of pollution produced by humans and that affects ecosystems in their night phases is light pollution . This pollution affects animals that are accustomed to darkness and, in fact, require it to survive because they are adapted to it, as well as modifying the life cycles of diurnal animals, affecting all kinds of animal species and vegetables.
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