24/7 writing help on your phone
Save to my list
Remove from my list
Every living thing on Earth belongs to an ecosystem. An ecosystem can be as small as a puddle or as large as an ocean. No matter its size, every ecosystem is vital to life on Earth, and requires human respect, support, management and protection. The term “ecosystem” refers to a community of plants and animals that share a common space and common resources, and are all dependent on one another for survival. Ecosystems are characterised by the complex interactions between these abiotic and biotic environments which involves a number of major systems such as the biosphere, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere.
Ecosystems are delicately balanced. If one component fails to thrive, the others become weakened, and may fail as well. If one ecosystem fails, neighboring ecosystems become threatened as well. Ecosystems are under constant and increasing threat of disruption from natural forces, invasive species and human development.
Although ecosystems are dynamic, they are also fragile. Natural forces such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can destroy ecosystems.
Depending on the severity, ecosystems may take a long time to recover, such as the slow rate of recovery from volcanic eruption. However natural disturbances do not occur often, or are on a regular basis, such as the El Nino or tornado. Human disturbances to the ecosystem however, occur on a regular basis. For example, the logging of the Amazonian trees at the rate of one football field per second. Ecosystems are in equilibrium and have their own way of maintaining stability, but humanity has disturbed this stability and continuously changed the ecosystem, making it almost impossible in most cases for the ecosystem to reach a new level of stability.
With such instability it is very dangerous as many conditions may change and detrimentally affect mankind. Rainforests, for example, exert a considerable influence on climate and large areas such as the Amazon have moisture and energy budgets that influence global weather circulation patterns. Thus it is very important to ensure that we protect the ecosystems and correctly manage them.
There are other ways that humans have changed the ecosystems such as destroying, degrading and simplifying ecosystems. Agricultural land use often requires the wholesale clearing of land to grow single crops or graze animals. This monoculture system simplifies the complex interrelationships existing in natural ecosystems and is maintained through pesticides and fertilisers. Urban land creates greatly modified ecosystems. The vast quantities of fertilisers, herbicides and esticides are required to sustain the yields of the crops. The runoff pollutes streams, lakes and oceans and causes changes to their ecosystems. Human-induced changes in one ecosystem usually have cascading and unpredictable effects on other inter-related ecosystems through their nutrient cycles. Human-induced modifications to nutrients cycles are numerous and vary in scale from local to global. The clearing and removal of timber from a rainforest disrupts the nutrient cycle in these low-fertility ecosystems.
Natural ecosystems need to be protected and managed in a responsible manner so as to preserve their utility, genetic, intrinsic, heritage and evolutionary values. The sum of the parts of the ecosystem is not worth more than the whole and as such ecosystems need to be preserved as a whole and islandisation, which is occurring more and more needs to be avoided. According to the United Nations funded researches, 60% of the ecosystems on Earth are being used up faster than they can replenish themselves. Recent advancement in science and technology has help humans become more aware of the need to protect and manage the inestimable value of the ecosystem for humans and the world in terms of their genetic, utility, intrinsic, and heritage values, as well as perceiving the need to allow natural change and thus evolution to proceed. The ecosystems of the Earth can be protected through various ways such as responsible use.
Where diversity is diminished, the functioning of ecosystems and by association the wellbeing of people is put at risk. Biological diversity or biodiversity covers these areas – genetic diversity, species diversity and ecological diversity. Genetic diversity is the variety of genetic material contained in all individual plants, animals and micro-organisms. Ecosystems rich in genetic diversity generally have greater resilience and therefore are able to recover more readily from natural and human stresses. Where diversity is low, ecosystem functioning is often at risk. The loss of a species – whether plant, animal fungus, bacterium or virus denies humanity possible future source of food, medicine, chemicals, fibres and other materials. Their protection is critical to the physical wellbeing of humanity. Ecosystems are endowed with their own intrinsic and ethical value, that is, they have the right to exist irrespective of their utility value. While few would disagree with such a sentiment, and most people would support the view that we need to protect ecosystems for the benefit of future generations, there is still no generally agreed mechanism or strategy by which this could be achieved.
Scientists believe a minimum of 10% of the land area of the Earth needs to be protected to conserve ecosystems, their biodiversity and integrity from human activities. Some developing countries have little of their land protected. The major priority in selecting a site for a reserve is to protect fragile ecosystems under threat. Some of these take thousands of years to form and can never be recreated if lost. In an ideal world, the management strategies would select the best combination of these factors to preserve the ecosystems at risk. Traditional management of ecosystem is one way of managing ecosystems. Other strategies include restriction on species caught, closed seasons, taboo areas and species, designated areas for hunting groups and individuals, limits to population growth and sustainable methods of hunting were used and resources were not wasted to name a few. To conclude, ecosystems are very hard to manage, protect and conserve especially in the developing countries where populations are exploding and the pressure on the land is intense.
The crippling debt most developing countries have and the urge to develop their ecosystem resources represent the real threat to the integrity of global ecosystems. So management strategies needed to protect ecosystems are at a local, national, regional, continental and global level. The management strategies to preserve and conserve ecosystems at risk recognize the need to manage whole ecosystems. This may involve strategies that range from total preservation to sustainable development Furthermore, the management of ecosystem is important to ensure sustainable development, preservation and minimized disturbances and recognition of ecosystem’s importance. Ecosystems change when they are controlled or disturbed. This may be the result of human or natural factors and may be intentional or inadvertent. Intentional changes can produce a number of unforeseen consequences, which creates the need for responsible management. .Management strategies change over time. This is due to changes in environmental quality, technological advances, economic, social and political attitudes.
👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!
Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.get help with your assignment