In the ecosystem, living and non-living things interact with each other. There is an interaction based on the exchange of matter between living beings and inanimate beings. This ensures the formation of the ecosystem as a whole.
An ecosystem is a natural system in which living things interact with each other and with their environment. The protection and sustainable use of ecosystems is important for protecting natural resources and improving people’s quality of life.
What is an Ecosystem?
An ecosystem is a natural system in which living things interact with each other and form together with their environment. In this system, plants, animals, microorganisms and environmental factors coexist. Ecosystems can be of different types, sizes and characteristics.
Living things in ecosystems share elements such as food, water, oxygen and other resources with each other. Plants produce energy from sunlight and share this energy with other living things. Animals feed on plants or other animals. Microorganisms, on the other hand, break down and recycle organic matter.
Environmental factors of ecosystems include elements such as water, air, climate, soil and other natural resources. These factors influence the characteristics and functioning of ecosystems.
Ecosystems are important for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. People sustain their lives with the resources they get from ecosystems. But human activities can also damage ecosystems. Human activities such as agriculture, deforestation, mining, industrial production and urban development can disrupt ecosystems.
Various methods are used for the protection and sustainable use of ecosystems. These methods include practices such as ecosystem management, sustainable agriculture, forest protection and environmentally sound industrial production.
What are the inanimate entities that make up the ecosystem?
As we explained above, living and non-living things in the ecosystem work together to ensure the exchange of substances. The inanimate entities in the ecosystem are as follows;
Soil, formed by the breakup of large rock masses over millions of years, is the name given to the top layer of the Earth’s crust. Living organisms live above and below the ground. It contains rock, sand, clay, minerals, salt, water, air, micro-organisms and living remains. These creatures get their water and mineral needs directly from the ground. Soil is also divided into classes among themselves and the most ideal type of soil for plant life is humus soil. In its structure there are many different minerals associated with plant life.
Water, a diatomic molecule, is the greatest source of life for living things. Water covers ¾ of the Earth’s surface and has liquid, stable and dissolving properties. Water, which occupies an important place in the life of living beings; It is considered the greatest source of life in such important things as digestion, respiration, excretion, circulation, photosynthesis and nutrition. Since water makes up an average of 75% of cells, it is easier to understand how important it is to life.
The light, which enables the production of food through photosynthesis, gets its energy directly from solar energy emissions. The sun, which is an important factor in the formation of precipitation, global warming, the formation of winds and the determination of climates, is the direct source of light, its distribution on the earth differs from each other and is the largest cause of climate change in the regions.
The average value of the heat generated by the effect of light on the Earth is called “temperature”. The temperature drops or rises depending on the amount of heat in the environment. Temperature is extremely important for life. Enzymatic reactions in cells take place at certain temperatures.
The atmospheric conditions that affect a region over a long period of time are called “climate”. Factors that shape climatic conditions; lighting, temperature, humidity, precipitation and wind. Every region on Earth has a different climate. the trigger factor is the distance of the area from the equator and the altitude and distance from the sea.
The name given to all gas mixtures that make up the atmosphere is air. Weather; It occurs with oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, dust, microorganisms and water vapor. The reason for the formation of air pollution is due to the changes in gas ratios we have mentioned.
Living assets that are part of the ecosystem
Just like the inanimate creatures that make up the ecosystem, there are also living creatures that exist for interaction to take place. This;
- productive organisms
- consumer animals
producers: Organisms that produce organic food through photosynthesis are called “producer organisms”. Their main job is to produce most of the nutrients consumers need. Green plants fall into the category of productive organisms.
Consumer animals: Living things that get the nutrients they need from plants and animals are called “consumers”. Consuming organisms with the highest number of species on Earth; It is studied in two parts as carnivorous and herbivorous.
Decomposing Creatures: these living creatures use their dead bodies and living waste. Thanks to this cycle, they ensure the formation of a natural cleaning and fabric cycle.
Causes of ecosystem degradation
Ecosystems are natural systems in which there is a delicate balance between living things and their environment. However, human activities and natural disasters can deteriorate these balances and damage ecosystems. Here are some of the factors that cause ecosystems to deteriorate:
Human activities are one of the causes that cause the greatest damage to ecosystems. Human activities such as deforestation, urbanization, agriculture and animal husbandry, industrial pollution, water pollution and waste management issues seriously affect ecosystems.
Climate change plays an important role in the degradation of ecosystems. Climate change factors such as temperature increase, decrease or increase in precipitation, increase in the frequency of natural disasters have serious consequences for ecosystems.
Natural disasters can be a major cause of ecosystem degradation. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, storms, floods and fires can lead to the loss of life in ecosystems and plants, the destruction of habitats and the destabilization of ecosystems.
The introduction of non-native species into ecosystems can also cause ecosystems to deteriorate. Alien species can destabilize ecosystems by causing the loss of native species.
The degradation of ecosystems can reduce people’s quality of life and make it more difficult to use natural resources. Therefore, the protection and sustainable use of ecosystems is very important. To protect ecosystems, priority should be given to the sustainable use of natural resources, the solution of waste management problems, the protection of forests, environmentally friendly agricultural and livestock activities, the reduction of industrial pollution and the fight against climate change.
What are the components that make up ecosystems?
The components that make up ecosystems are living (plants, animals, microorganisms) and non-living factors (water, soil, air, sunlight, etc.).
Why are ecosystems important?
Ecosystems play a vital role in providing resources essential for the survival of humans and other living things and for a sustainable future. Ecosystems also help conserve natural resources, prevent environmental pollution and absorb carbon dioxide.
How can ecosystems be protected?
To protect ecosystems, priority should be given to issues such as the sustainable use of natural resources, the solution of waste management problems, the protection of forests, environmentally friendly agricultural and livestock activities, the reduction of industrial pollution and the mitigation of climate change.
How does climate change affect ecosystems?
Climate change can disrupt the delicate balance of ecosystems, alter the distribution of plant and animal species, destroy habitats, degrade water resources and increase natural disasters. That is why tackling climate change is important for protecting ecosystems.
How does the degradation of ecosystems affect humans?
It has negative effects on human health due to the deterioration of ecosystems, contamination of water resources, air pollution and increase in natural disasters. In addition, the degradation of ecosystems can complicate the sustainability of agricultural and livestock activities and cause economic losses.