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Environmental Studies
Denise Grafton

Ecosystems and Natural CommunitiesChapter 4 Ch4 3247 Ch5 6469Ecosystem a system involving the interactions of living and nonliving elements in a manner that sustains life includes plants animals air soil waterBiotic community OR Community the living part of an ecosystem identifiable associations of plants and animals living in a finite physical environment Species participate in a network of life a system where nonliving elements are brought into the tissues of living organismsEcosystems usually consist of several communities that have distinct groups of plants and animalsEcosystems require energy and matterEcosystems can be modified by internal or external factors o Aging internal natural factorseedlings become a mature forest o Genetic responses of organisms to evolutional adjustments longterm o Weathering internalvegetationexternalclimate soil formation o Lightning external naturalAll ecosystems have been modified by 1 or more mineral and energy extraction urban development livestock production waste disposal forestry agriculture diversion of waterWildlife ManagementManagers should deal responsibly and knowledgeably with the interdependent nature of animals plants and their physical surroundings1960s and 1970sDDTLearned about links connecting parts of the global ecosystemsTampering with one component can produce unexpected effects on other componentsMore than insects were harmed when DDT and related pesticides were applied to increase agriculture and forest productionDrastic decline in bald eagles falcons and other birds of prey1940s and 1950s Test of Atomic WeaponsIncreased the risk of cancer among InuitBombs exploded thousands of kilometers away in the South Pacific but radioactive particles reached the Alaskan tundraContaminants entered the arctic ecosystemLichens accumulated the fallout of strontium 90 and cesium 137Chernobyl FalloutExists in a migratory route where birds wintering from eastern Africa to Western India go through to breeding grounds in EurasiaEurasian coots are of concern they are popular in the diet of some AsiansAmerican coots can accumulate high levels of cesium 137 hazard for nations that eat the bird st The threat of contaminated food chains from the Chernobyl incident will last into the 21 centuryEcosystem SizeCan range in size from a few square metres to much or all of the Earth desert spring in tidal zoneSmall closed ecosystems eg aquarium where humans can control the physical environment light temp and plant and animal lifeo Small ecosystemsponds pastures woodlotsLarger ecosystemsAmazon rain forest Lake Superior Mojave desertBiosphere part of the Earth that extends from a few hundred metres beneath the surface to several kilometers into the atmosphere vast ecosystemsome ecosystems require a lot of time and effort for repair once they have been degradedgeneral selfsustaining but require external source of energy usually the Sunboundaries between ecosystems are hard to definewater sediments atmospheric gases and pollutants travel across boundaries between forests marshes lakes etc
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