Table of Contents
An ecosystem refers to the self-sustaining along with self-regulating society of both living and the nonliving organisms. Indeed, this basically describes the manner in which both organisms correlate in a given settings dictated by the chain of dependency. Furthermore, the ecosystem of a given place is the mode of survival of various living organisms with respect to adaptive feature of the latter to the surroundings. Consequently, this means that ecosystems are comprised of organisms that have mutually dependent features that match their mutual coexistence.
On the other hand, a species refers to a group of interrelated living organisms which can easily interbreed and give rise to a viable offspring. Such organisms exist in either singular or communal habitats. It bears exclusive features that enhance their survival in a common life environment. Additionally, such organisms are better placed with regard to their lifeless surroundings. This paper seeks to address the forest ecosystem relating to common human and natural aspects that acts to shape up the appearance of the ecosystem as far as living and nonliving organisms are concerned therein. Besides this, the following paper will also focus considerable attention on the aquatic ecosystem with a brief examination on its counterpart, marine ecosystem.
Forest ecosystems are an accomplishment, natural setting with the acute dominance of trees. Such trees have an approximate maturity height of about two meters above the ground level. In some instances, this form of tree life grows very tall and forms an umbrella-like feature which prevents the penetration of light to the Earth’s surface. Consequently, the aspect of insufficient light attracts another form of life that can survive in a tree-shadowed environment. Furthermore, this also acts as a favorable breeding environment for other living organisms ranging from animals to plants. As a matter of fact, some organisms can easily survive in such cool places. For example, the mosquitoes and snails live in moist, shady places. What is more, mushrooms grow naturally in the damp places, as well. Liana plants also climb up the woody stem of tall trees in competition for light, besides clinging for support. This shows an aspect of mutuality. Consequently, plants and animals in a given habitat and the ecosystem in general have a mutual interdependence. Other components of the forest ecosystems include the abiotic factors like the soil and air in circulation within the respective ecosystem. An example of ecosystem includes the mountainous forests of Asia (for example, Everest) and the Australian forest ecosystem (Agnoletti & Anderson, 2000).
Different Organisms Play Different Roles in Forest Ecosystem
As pointed out earlier, particular communities of organisms have mutual interdependence in a forest ecosystem. This aspect is denoted by the complex series of interdependence relationships known as the food webs. Furthermore, such food webs are functions of simpler interdependence units called food chains. However, the two models of interrelationships are pegged to the massive transfer of energy between different trophic levels. Indeed, according to the law for the transfer of energy in an ecosystem, the amount of energy that is transferred decreases up the food chains from the elementary producers to the final consumers or the decomposers. This relationship involves plants versus the animals or vise versa. For instance, in the forest ecosystem, animals and plants depend on each other for food and shelter. For example, there are gazelles and grasshopper respectively. On the other hand, plants depend on animals for nutrients in terms of humus contents in the solid wastes resulting in soil egestion (Jax, 2010).
In this regard, various animals feed exclusively on plants, commonly referred to as the herbivores. Meanwhile, there are those who depend exclusively on the other animals, commonly known as the carnivores. Additionally, there are such creatures that feed on both plants and other animals within the ecosystem. This class is called the omnivores. Another category of living organism that further contributes to the forest ecosystem is the decomposers. This category is comprised of the fungi and the bacteria surviving in the forest litters and topsoil. The main role of these organisms is to breakdown the various dead matters of plant and animals which follow the subsequent recycling to form the important substances that can be used by the plants. This denotes the various interdependence of organism in desert ecosystems with regard to the role played by the individual organism for the mutual benefit of the inhabitants (Jax, 2010).
What Comprises the Food Chains and the Food Webs?
By and large, this paper seeks to identify and illustrate the exclusive animals and plant species that depend on the others for food and shelter. In the first instance, predators are wild animals that hunt and kill other animals for food. Consequently, the animals that are hunted by others are known as the prey. For instance, there are lion and zebra respectively. As for the food web, the mutual interaction of various organisms becomes more complex than the simple structure ‘who eats who’. What is more, most predators hunt for preys at night; consequently, they are referred to as nocturnal animals.
The River Red Gum ecosystem is a good example where the brush tail opossum feeds on the leaves and plants during the day, but at night, it feeds on preyed animals (foxes), as it moves on the ground or jumps from one tree to another. Furthermore, we have other types of animals and plants that depend on others for survival. In this case, such animals have the exclusive benefits of other animals or plants. However, they do not benefit from their hosts, in any way, through symbiotic relationship. Such organisms are known as the parasites. The example can be found in a forest ecosystem - the mistletoe plant often grows on host trees (eucalyptus trees) in the form of dense stacks of leaves. This plant develops a parasitic root structure into the tree which enables to acquire both water and nutrients for the various physiological functioning of the plant (Garratt et al., 2008).
Additionally, forest ecosystems also include: insects and birds. These organisms play a paramount role in the advancement and development of the ecosystem as far as the various trophic levels are concerned. Therefore, insects and birds depend on the plant for food. At the same time, they act as the prospective pollinators, especially for the plants that are unable to self-pollinate or incur naturally inspired pollination; like the eucalyptus among other species. This indicates a symbiotic relationship between two organisms. In addition, the pollinated flowers develop into fruits and nuts which, consequently, provide food for the animals. What is more, it supports the growth and development of other seeds. In this regard, the indigenous bee is considered to be a common pollinator in Australian forest ecosystem (Agnoletti & Anderson, 2000)..
Additionally, a forest ecosystem also experiences a sense of interrelationship in the form of competition. This plays the vital role in the modification of the population size. Population is the interbreeding group of organisms of the same species living in a common habitat. This means that they share a common type of food, consequently, increased competition results in food shortage and the subsequent death of some organisms that are not well fit. Therefore, when the population of organism exceeds the carrying capacity of the habitat, the environment undergoes natural mechanisms. Gradually, they eliminate the excess capacity, till a moderate level of organisms is achieved, as illustrated in Malthusian theory. Consequently, this enables the environment to accommodate the maximum number of organisms within the time frame (Garratt et al., 2008).
Human exploitation of the environment and the forest ecosystem, in particular, result in the imbalance. This condition represents the equilibrium in supply and demand of various components within the ecosystem. Indeed, this may negatively impact on both biotic and the abiotic factors of the ecosystem. For instance, human exploitation of the timber from the forest trees results in a destruction of habitats for various living organisms. These are birds, snakes and monkeys, as well. Consequently, this results in a state of ecological disturbance arising from inadequacy of shelter and food for some organisms. Additionally, some organisms, such as tigers, portray strange breeding habits and do not breed in the open areas. As a result, this can lead to the population decline and the subsequent ecological imbalance of other organisms that are dependent on the former (Jax, 2010).
Therefore, various federal governments have imposed the cessation on the poaching of the various forms of wildlife as a way of controlling excessive exploitation of the various life forms. However, there has been an unsuccessful surveillance put in place, thus resulting in further exploitation of the forest ecosystems. Consequently, it led to the state of imbalance in the supply and demand sides of the ecosystems. For instance, human encroachment into a forest system in poaching of gazelle has caused the decline in the food supply for their respective predators. As a result, these predators advance on the human habitations, including arable lands in agricultural investment and, thus, the human wildlife conflicts. This is one of the most widespread side effects of the excessive exploitation of the wildlife, as far as the various resources are concerned. The government also identifies trust lands for the purpose of conservation besides giving monetary gains for positive conservation behaviors (Jax, 2010).
On the other side, human activities of deforestation have resulted in a state of ecological imbalance through faulty circulation of carbon dioxide and other carbonic gases. In the long run, this affects the atmospheric balance and causes other effects like global warming through toxic accumulation of the carbon and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Furthermore, this impacts negatively on the animal life in both the forest ecosystems and beyond them. Indeed, these activities lead to collapse of the key role of the forest of sustainability via effective capture and subsequent conversion of solar energy for storage in plants which are also dependent on other organisms within and beyond the particular ecosystem (Garratt et al., 2008).
Aquatic ecosystem refers to the interrelationships existing amidst the water environment. Therefore, it also suffers from human exploitation. This paper takes into account the marine ecosystems that fall under the aquatic ecosystem. The continued exploitation of the aquatic resources, including fish, has led to the depletion of fish species and other forms of aquatic life. To prevent such occurrence, many governments have formulated various regulations that appertain to the protection of such species. The following measures include the periodic bans on fishing and other exploitative activities that are based on the specific ecosystems.
However, this may result in minimal prevention against irresponsible exploitation of the respective resources. Indeed, some of these regulations are less adhered to the private individual, but are accelerated by the laxity on the law enforcement agents. In addition, corruption has become paramount contributor to the corrupt menace of exploitation, with regard to the marine fishing. Consequently, this has resulted in massive deterioration of the marine environments and the subsequent decline in the species. Therein, due to the aspects of illegal fishing coupled with other human disturbance of eutrophication among other pollutant (Bhargava, 2001).
Political affiliations have also been of the forefront in the deterioration of the ecosystems. Therefore, many politicians have engaged the law enforcement agencies in a futile battle of opposition of the law and the subsequent incitements on the public against the law for the sake of their political gains. For instance, successive fishing in the lakes hampers the requisite time for the maturity and reproduction of the fingerings. These fingerings exist in the aquatic environments, where other biotic and abiotic organisms coexist side by side. These include snakes and coral reefs respectively. The decline in fish life in an ecosystem results in the change for the worse in food supply for snakes and other organisms that depend on fish for food (Turyahabwe & Banana, 2008).
Potential Benefits of the Exploitation
However, beefed up exploitation of water and forest resources lead to the increase in level of output of the production frontiers involved. Consequently, this results in increased trade in the resultant products. In particular, the countries like Canada and Singapore get the maximum benefits from the exploitation of the forest resources for timber, which is used in the construction of executive furniture for both local and international trade with other countries, including Kenya. Therefore, the countries earn the significant proportions of foreign exchange which is used to lift up other sectors of the economy. However, this does not come about in the absence of challenges. Indeed, this aspect of exploitation results in the increased costs of afforestation with the view of maintaining successive exploitation. What is more, the medical expenses of the country incur the treating of pollution related ailments as a result of carbon accumulation in the atmosphere (Jax, 2010).
In conclusion, forest and aquatic ecosystems are paramount in the maintenance of natural balance within their respective ecosystem, consequently, the need to protect the ecosystems. However, the federal governments should formulate laws and regulations that impose heavy fines on the individual or groups encountered in the act of ecosystem demolishment. Additionally, conservation can further be enhanced through the provision of incentives to conservations. They include financial grants towards positive conservation measures. In particular, forest ecosystems can be improved through the setting up and protection of trust lands that increase the habitats for animals. It refers especially to the huge organisms with big ranges, such as the elephants. Effective enactment of these motives would lead to the improved performance of the ecosystems through minimal disturbance. The government and the civil societies should, therefore, join hands for the environmental protection and the subsequent protection of various ecosystems.