Ecosystem Functions and Ecosystem Services

Differentiate between ecosystem functions and ecosystem services. After reading the notes answer the following question. Cite the references from the information given. The response must be meaningful and well developed. NO “praising” or ” I agree” statements! Use outside source if needed. NOTES An ecosystem is the combination of a community of organisms and its physical and chemical environment, functional as an integrated ecological unit. For example forest, lakes are ecosystems. Biota means living organisms (plants, animals, bacteria, etc ) and abiotic means non-living elements of the environment. Example: water, temperature, mineral, etc. Ecosystems are integrated systems: Living and non-living things are parts and processes. For example bacteria (microorganisms) convert the nitrogen from the air and convert into nitrogen dioxide and ammonia for the plant’s use. Energy and matter must flow in and out of the system Ex: water cycle, carbon cycle, etc. Ecosystems provide humans with many services 1.Provisioning services Example: supply us with resources like food, water, air. Humans can modify to increase services like changing grassland to the cornfield to provide more food for the increased population. While they convert the grassland, the field now supports fewer species. 2.Regulating services : Controls important conditions/services and Examples are climates, the flow of water, and the absorption of pollutants. 3.Cultural services : spiritual and recreational benefits, Examples: hiking, other outdoor activities, ecotourism, and holy sites. 4. Supporting services: are the basic ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycles, soil formation, and pollination. (bees and other pollinating insects provide a supporting service by ensuring that flowers are fertilized and fruits form. Ecosystem Functions: There are 4 functions listed below. 1. Matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed Something cannot be created from anything Law of energy and mass conservation Everything goes somewhere 2. Ecosystems are open to gains and losses of energy and matter 3. Ecosystem processes are self-regulated The processes regulated by biotic and abiotic factors. Dynamic homeostasis is the process by which systems adjust to changes. Dynamic homeostasis occurs because of feedback, the ability of a system to adjust based on changes in the system itself. Negative feedback stabilizes the ecosystem. For example, A change in our body temperature causes our body to return to its normal temperature. Positive feedback occurs when the directional change in a process alters the ecosystem so as to reinforce that change. For example: because tree roots hold soil and limit erosion, the loss of forests on steep mountain slopes accelerates soil erosion. This erosion leads to the loss of even more forests. Positive feedback destabilize ecosystem if not counteracted 4. Ecosystem change is essential and inevitable Ecosystem change in response to disturbance is often homeostatic, controlled by feedbacks. Ecosystems constantly change in response to external or internal actions. It could be seasonal like temperature, moisture, and disturbances like storms, floods, and fires.

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