• Sign up
Connect with Facebook
Ideas Globe > Environment > Ecosystems



Mass extinction, when more than half of all the species on Earth may die out during this century, is mainly due to the destruction of ecosystems.  But those ecosystems give us water and safety, so their loss contributes to the global water crisis and escalating disaster risks. They also store carbon, so damaging them releases greenhouse gases and increases global warming.

Living systems are made up of ecological, evolutionary and spatial relationships among organisms and lineages, metabolisms and the flow of energy and materials within and between organisms, and creative and destructive processes at all scales.  The information content of a living system is one of its key attributes and is known as its biodiversity.  A living system, such as an organism or ecosystem, is organised (in a dynamic, tumbling trajectory through space-time) with reference to its information content, which is continuously changing as relationships fail or succeed, mechanisms of energy and nutrient exchange out-compete each other or are out-competed, and solar energy, water or other key inputs ebb and flow.  Biodiversity thus reflects the entire history of the system, but particularly its last couple of generations. - By
Dr Julian Caldecott

The term "ecosystem" was created in 1930 by Roy Clapham to denote the combined physical and biological components of an environment.

Central to the ecosystem concept is the idea that living organisms interact with every other element in their local environment. Eugene Odum, a founder of ecology, stated: "Any unit that includes all of the organisms (ie: the "community") in a given area interacting with the physical environment so that a flow of energy leads to clearly defined trophic structure, biotic diversity, and material cycles (ie: exchange of materials between living and nonliving parts) within the system is an ecosystem."

The human ecosystem concept is then grounded in the deconstruction of the human/nature dichotomy and the premise that all species are ecologically integrated with each other, as well as with the abiotic constituents of their biotope.

MEDICINES FROM THE DEEP The Importance of Protecting the High Seas from Bottom Trawling
GreenPeace: CITES – Last Chance for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
DSCC: Review of the implementation of the provisions of UN GA resolution 61/105 related to the management of high seas bottom fisheries
GreenPeace: While stocks last...Greenpeace recommendations to ensure they do.
GreenPeace: Whaling on Trial – Japan’s Whale Meat scandal and the trial of the Toyko two

Examples of Eco-Systems

  • Agroecosystem
  • Aquatic ecosystem
  • Chaparral
  • Coral reef
  • Desert
  • Forest
  • Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
  • Human ecosystem
  • Large marine ecosystem
  • Littoral zone
  • Marine ecosystem
  • Prairie
  • Rainforest
  • Savanna
  • Subsurface Lithoautotrophic Microbial Ecosystem
  • Taiga
  • Terrestrial Ecosystem
  • Tundra
  • Urban ecosystem