Essay: Can Ecosystems Be Restored?
Posted by admin as Sample papers
Sample Essay: Can Ecosystems Be Restored?
There is a powerful connection between our environment, living things, nature, and our ecosystems. Numerous changes occur over time and space, and there are some dramatic changes occurring that is deteriorating some of our natural ecosystems. Certain changes in our ecosystems occur naturally due to weather and climate conditions. Occasionally, natural misfortunes show an improvement after a disturbance. However, many changes are the result of the human population thriving, and the pressure to build, and improve our economy. With such a dominant presence on this planet, we as the human population are accountable, and certainly have the ability to restore some of the destruction.
What is an ecosystem? The book, Environmental Science, defines an ecosystem as; “an ecosystem is a grouping of plants, animals, and microbes occupying an explicit unit of space and interacting with each other and their environment” (Nebel and Wright, 2000, p.21). There are many different structures that conform to make a complete natural ecosystem.
The main components of every ecosystem are the biotic community and the abiotic environmental factors. The difference between the biotic community and abiotic environmental factors is that biotic communities consist of the natural living for example, plant life and animals. The abiotic environmental factors mean non-living for example: water, and temperature conditions. The way the different categories of organisms fit together is referred to as the biotic structure. In addition, the feeding relationships between organisms are referred to as the trophic structure (Nebel and Wright, 2000, p.24-28).
There are 94 different atoms (the structure all matter) that occur in nature, which are known as elements. Molecule consists of two or more atoms bonded together in a specific way, and a compound consists of two or more different kinds of atoms. According to the book, Environmental Science “The key elements in living systems are carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and sulfur (S). These elements are in the organic molecules that make up plants, animals and microbes” (Nebel and Wright, 2000, p. 32). These elements play a significant role when it comes to sustainability within our ecosystems.
The main categories of organisms are Producers, Consumers, and Detritus feeders, along with decomposers. In addition, all organisms have two categories, Autotrophs and Heterotrophs. Autotrophs are self-feeders, meaning they produce the organic substance they need to survive. Producers are organisms that capture energy from the sun or from a chemical reaction converting carbon dioxide to organic matter. On the contrary, Heterotrophs must consume organic substance for energy. The two main categories of Heterotrophs are consumers, who eat living prey and detritus feeders and decomposers which both feed on dead organisms. There are many ways whereas one organism consumes another, thus resulting in the food chain. All food chains are interconnected to form the food web (Nebel and Wright, 2000, p. 21-30). Our survival depends on our ability to continue living, without depleting the ecosystem resources required to keep it going.
Our planet is made up of matter and energy, and all organic molecules that make up living things contain energy. There is an intricate relationship between the formation and breakdown of organic matter. To keep in simplistic, producers have the role of making high potential energy organic molecules for their bodies from low potential energy raw materials in the environment. On the contrary, consumers, detritus feeders and decomposers obtain their energy from feeding on the break down of organic matter made by producers (Nebel and Wright, 2000, p. 33-39).
Natural ecosystems sustain human life. The benefits and services of our natural ecosystems are vital to us, and we need to learn how to manage these resources. The environment contributes countless free benefits and services that most people take for granted. For example, people rarely think about the value of a forest they can hike through, or the value of wetlands, including products such as soil, water and food, and services such as climate regulation, waste treatment and pollination. Nature is comprise of many functions, from providing the food we eat to filtering toxins out of the water we drink and supplying materials for our economic development. There is no doubt, our ecosystems products and services are absolutely essential for human life and our economy would collapse without nature’s services. (www.apollolibrary.com).