Ecological System

An ecosystem is an association of animals and plants with their surrounding non-living environment and all the interactions that each organism participates in. The term ecosystem was created in 1935 by Sir Arthur GeorgeTansley, an English ecologist, who said natural systems are constantly changing among their living and nonliving parts (Bennett 1997 p 15).The ecosystem concept is built around the flow of energy and all of its components, which is extremely important to know when dealing with biological community functions. A simple ecosystem works by first receiving energy from the sun that is trapped by the grass during a process known as photosynthesis. The grass is then eaten by a rabbit, which in turn is eaten by a hawk, which eventually dies. The energy originally contained in the photosynthetic products made by the grass goes through various stages where the body molecules of the original rabbit and the hawk become the heat energy lost from the animals and the decaying dead matter. That’s a brief description of how an ecosystem flow of energy is made (Condit et al 1996 p231). The ecosystem concept is very helpful as an organizing principle for the geographic study of the biosphere. There are many different scales at which this concept can be applied and there are endless magnitudes of ecosystems that one can study.The major complexes of ecosystems determined by a particular set of climatic conditions and comprising of a different set of organisms are known as biomes. Biomes are classified in various ways, however, the different types are best discussed under seven categories. Although biomes include associated animal life, they go by the name of the dominant vegetation and the physical conditions, since it is these two that influence the characteristic diversity of animal life and smaller plant forms (Biogeogr et al 2007 p 14).

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