An ecological system or ecosystem is considered by science as a large-scale interaction of living organisms with their non-living environment. They influence each other, and their cooperation allows you to maintain life. The concept of “ecosystem” is generalized, it does not have a physical size, as it includes the ocean and the desert, and at the same time a small puddle and a flower. Ecosystems are very diverse, they depend on a large number of factors, such as climate, geological conditions and human activities.
To fully understand the term “ecosystem” consider it on the example of a forest. A forest is not just a large number of trees or shrubs, but a complex set of interconnected elements of living and non-living (earth, sunlight, air) nature. Living organisms include:
Each organism performs its clearly defined role, and the overall work of all living and non-living elements creates a balance for the smooth operation of the ecosystem. Every time an outside agent or a new living being enters an ecosystem, there can be negative consequences that cause destruction and potential harm. The ecosystem can be destroyed as a result of human activity or natural disasters.
Depending on the scale of manifestation, there are three main types of ecosystems:
- macroecosystem. A large system made up of small systems. An example is a desert, subtropical forest or ocean inhabited by thousands of species of marine animals and plants.
- mesoecosystem. Ecosystem of small size (pond, forest area or a separate clearing).
- microecosystem. A small-sized ecosystem that mimics in miniature the nature of various ecosystems (aquarium, an animal corpse, a forest stump, a pool of water inhabited by microorganisms).
The uniqueness of ecosystems is that they do not have clearly defined boundaries. Most often they complement each other or are separated by deserts, oceans and seas.
Man plays a significant role in the life of ecosystems. In our time, to meet its own goals, humanity creates new and destroys existing ecological systems. Depending on the method of formation, ecosystems are also divided into two groups:
- natural ecosystem. It is created as a result of the forces of nature, is able to independently recover and create a vicious circle of substances, from creation to decay.
- Artificial or man-made ecosystem. Consists of plants and animals that live in conditions created by human hands (field, pasture, reservoir, botanical garden).
One of the largest artificial ecosystems is the city. Man invented it for the convenience of his own existence and created artificial energy inflows in the form of gas and water pipelines, electricity and heating. However, an artificial ecosystem requires additional inflows of energy and substances from the outside.
The totality of all ecological systems makes up the global ecosystem the biosphere. It is the largest set of interactions between animate and inanimate nature on planet Earth. Is in balance due to the balance of a huge variety of ecosystems and a variety of species of living organisms. It is so huge that it covers:
Due to the constant circulation of substances, the global ecosystem has maintained its vital activity for billions of years.