Ch.55/Ch.56Ecosystems, Conservation Biology, and Restoration Ecology BetzabethMatus Daniela Lizardi Paul Felix Per.6
Ecosystems/Biomes • A variety of ecosystems and biomes exist on Earth, each being host to diverse forms of life. • An ecosystem can be highly altered when interference causes slight instabilities in it. • Ecosystems are constantly going through minor changes which sustain its life. • Biomes and habitats can be self sustaining when the right “requirements” (sunlight, heat, fertile soil) are met.
Introduced/Endangered Species • Non-native (introduced) species can drastically alter an environment. • Lack of natural predators can cause the alien species’ population to dramatically explode. • Introduced species can destroy an ecosystem by out-competing native species for resources and through reproduction, leading to native species’ extinction • An introduced species’ predator can be inserted to the environment in order to balance the ecological equation (the predator’s population, in turn, must also be monitored) • Some introduced species can be beneficial to an area by fertilizing soil, decomposing dead organisms, and preying upon dominant predators. • A species becomes endangered when its population size falls under sustainable limits. • Over consumption (by both natural predators and humans), disease, and overexploitation can lead to a species becoming endangered • Currently, habitat loss is the leading cause of species endangerment/extinction • A species is extinct when few/no members of the population remain (too few to maintain a sustainable gene pool) • Species protection programs and environmental movements are currently slowing the endangerment of species and stopping the loss of already endangered species.
Restoration Ecology • Restorationists/conservationists seek to keep biomes and ecosystems as “natural” as possible, with little to no human interference • The restoration of an ecosystem involves adding lost nutrients to the area and introducing species which maximize energetic output • Ecosystem conservation can be seen in the setting up of nature reserves (increasingly large ones, as current trends show, are needed to maintain healthy habitats) and the passing of new laws prohibiting human expansion in certain diverse areas.
Conservation Biology • Currently, environmental groups are hard at work to preserve many of the threatened ecosystems that exist on earth • New laws are being passed to prohibit the indiscriminate killing of animal species • Once-endangered species are now beginning to grow in population size, and species on the very brink of extinction have been “brought back”