Ecosystem A review
Ecosystem is formed by biotic and abiotic factors and their interactions with each other. Each factor plays very important role in the ecosystem. Producers like plants are important. Herbivores like deer, goats, sheep, cattle, horses, camels, etc. feeding upon producers are also important. Predators like lion and tiger which prevent the overpopulation of herbivores are also equally important. A question may arise in our mind that whether the caterpillars found in nature, organisms present in filthy places, termites, insects present in dung, are really useful? However, those organisms are also important though they are dirty. They are responsible for cleaning the environment. It means that our existence is due to these factors present around us. Hence, we should care for these factors.
Relationship between Environment and Ecosystem
Environment is a broad concept. Physical, chemical and biological factors affecting the living organisms in any possible way is collectively called as environment. In short, environment is the condition in surrounding. It includes many biotic, abiotic, natural and artificial factors. There are two main types of environment. One is natural environment and other is artificial environment.
Natural environment consists of air, atmosphere, water, land, living organisms, etc. Continuous interactions occur between biotic and abiotic factors. Their interactions are very important. Artificial environment is also affecting the natural environment directly or indirectly. Basically, environment consists of two basic factors- 1. Biotic factors, 2. Abiotic factors. The science that deals with the study of interactions between biotic and abiotic factors of the environment is called as ecology. Basic functional unit used to study the ecology is called as ecosystem.
Environment consists of many ecosystems. We have studied some ecosystems in earlier classes. A small pond is an ecosystem whereas the Earth is largest ecosystem. In brief, biotic and abiotic factors occupying a definite geographical area and their interactions collectively constitute the ecosystem.
Environmental balance is maintained through continuous operation of various natural cycles like water cycle, carbon cycle, gaseous cycles like nitrogen cycle, oxygen cycle, etc. Environmental balance is also maintained due to various food chains of ecosystem.
At present, many environmental problems have been arisen due to effect of various natural and artificial factors on the Earth. Environmental pollution is one of those main factors. Generally, contamination of any material is its pollution. Unnecessary and unacceptable change in the surrounding environment due to natural events or human activities are called as environmental pollution. i.e. direct or indirect changes in physical, chemical and biological properties of air, water and soil which will be harmful to humans and other living beings is environmental pollution. Various reasons like population explosion, fast industrialization, and indiscriminate use of natural resources, deforestation, and unplanned urbanization are responsible for environmental pollution.
Pollution is a broad concept. Various types of pollutions like that of air, water, sound, soil, thermal, light, pollution occur around us. Ultimate adverse effect of all these is on existence of all the living organisms and out of this, environmental conservation has become the need of hour.
Need of environmental conservation
General public is not aware about the rules of environment conservation. There should be large scale participation of the people in environment conservation. It will be possible to answer the environmental problems only if environmental protection-conservation becomes an effective public movement. For this purpose, values like positive attitude and affection towards environment, knowledge about it, etc. should be inculcated among the children since their childhood. This will help to make the future generations more aware about environmental conservation and protection. So as to achieve this, it is necessary to increase the awareness through education.
Today, all the developed, developing and underdeveloped countries have accepted the responsibility of environmental protection. Their efforts are in that direction. They have defined the future plans about environmental protection and have constituted the necessary laws.
Environmental Conservation. Our social responsibility
Since existence of human, there is interrelationship between human and environment. Human stepped on the Earth long after formation of Earth. On the Earth, human being proved its superiority as compared to other animals with the help of characters like intelligence, memory, imaginary ability, etc. Human established domination over the nature. Human utilized all the natural resources as much as possible. In an attempt to live a satisfactory life, human kept on snatching from the nature as much as possible and this led to increase in problems. From this entire scenario, we can understand that human has crucial role in maintaining the environmental balance. If human has disturbed the environmental balance, then human itself only can conserve and improve the quality of nature. Many times, general public is unknown that its activities are harmful to environment and thereby unknowingly many activities happen.
The big story of a small man
Jadav Molai Payeng is a highly capable person in Assam. Born in 1963, he is working as a forest worker since the age of 16 years. Once, large number of snakes died in the flood of Brahmaputra River flowing by the village. As a preventive measure, Molai planted 20 bamboo plantlets. In 1979, the local Social Forestry Department began a social afforestation project on 200 hectares of land. ‘Molai’ was one of the few forest workers who were looking after that project. Molai continued to plant the trees even after completion of the project. As a result of his continuous work of planting and caring for the trees, the barren area witnessed the forest cover over the 1360 acres. Today, this jungle in Kokilamukh of Jorhat district of Assam is the result of the hard work for 30 years. He has been awarded with the prestigious ‘Padmashree’ award by government of India for this unparallel work. Now, it is well known as ‘Molai Jungle’. Many people come together to destroy the forest, but a single person, if determined, can establish a new forest!
Environmental Conservation and Biodiversity
Most harmful effect of the environmental pollution occurs on the living organisms. Have you seen some examples of this in your area? Our living world had been richly diverse. It consisted of varieties of plants and animals. However, we are not able to see some specific animals about which we had listened from our earlier generations. Who is responsible for this? Biodiversity is the richness of living organisms in nature due to presence of varieties of organisms, ecosystems and genetic variations within a species. Biodiversity occurs at three different levels.
Genetic Diversity Occurrence of diversity among the organisms of same species is genetic diversity. Ex. Each human being is different from other. Possibility of wiping out the species arises if there is decrease in the diversity within the species whose members involve in sexual reproduction.
Species Diversity Innumerable species of organisms occur in the nature. This is called as species diversity. Species diversity includes various types of plants, animals and microbes.
Ecosystem Diversity Many ecosystems are present in each region. Ecosystem is formed through the interaction between plants, animals, their habitat and changes in the environment. Each ecosystem has its own characteristic animals, plants, microbes and abiotic factors. Ecosystems are also of two types are natural and artificial.
Hotspots of Biodiversity
34 highly sensitive biodiversity spots are reported all over the world. Such areas had once occupied 15.7% area of the Earth. At present, 86% of the sensitive areas are already destroyed. Presently, only 2.3% area of the Earth has been left over with sensitive spots. It includes 1,50,000 plant species which are 50% of the world count. As far as India is considered, out of 135 species of animals, 85 species are found in the jungles of eastern region. About 1,500 endemic plant species are found in western ghat. Out of the total plant species in the entire world, 50,000 are endemic. Collect more information about locations of these hotspots present in the world.
Classification of Threatened Species
- Endangered Species Either number of these organisms is declined or their habitat is shrunk to such an extent that they can be extinct in near future if conservative measures are not implemented. Example, Lion tailed monkey, lesser florican.
- Rare Species Number of these organisms is considerably declined. Organisms of these species being endemic may become extinct very fast. Example, Red panda, Musk deer.
- Vulnerable Species Number of these organisms is extremely less and continues to decline. Continuous decline in their number is worrisome reason. Example, Tiger, Lion.
- Indeterminate Species These organisms appear to be endangered but due to their some behavioural habits (like shyness) there is no definite and substantial information. Example, Giant squirrel (Shekhru)