Ecological Imbalance: Its Causes and Effects in the Biosphere
Ecosystem is the environment where biotic/ living things live and interact with nonliving things/abiotic factors such as coral reef, forest, grassland, farm etc. In 1935, the word “ecosystem” was invented by a British ecologist Sir Arthur George Tansley, who depicted natural system in “constant interchange” among their biotic and abiotic parts.
- Biotic parts such as plants, animals and bacteria etc.
- Abiotic parts such as the soil, air, water etc.
Ecology is a branch of science that was developed by scientist to make the study easier about the relationship between biotic things and their physical environment which is the abiotic factors – and ecosystem is part of the concept of ecology in an organized view of nature.
Biosphere is the earth’s zone of air, water and soil that has the capability in supporting life. This zone reaches about 10 km into the atmosphere and down to the lowest ocean floor. In simpler term, the biosphere is the surface of the hierarchy on earth where living environment and organism thrive. It contains various categories of biotic communities known as biomes that is described by their overbearing vegetation such as deserts, tropical rainforest and grasslands. The biomes are in turn composed of various ecosystems.
Ecosystem has processes which sustain ecological balance:
- The cyclic flow of materials from abiotic environment to the biosphere and then back to the abiotic environment.
- Upholding the equilibrium of interaction inside food webs.
These processes must be maintained in the ecosystem; any interference with these cycles disrupts and affects ecological balance. Below are some of the reasons and causes of ecological imbalance in the living world.
Introduction of Synthetic Products
Synthetic products are materials that are made by chemical processes that are formed artificially by chemical synthesis such as plastic bags, chairs, toys, etc. These synthetic materials can last for years and cannot be decomposed by decomposers. These synthetic products like different plastic products are made up of plastic; this creation of man hinders the flow of materials in the biosphere.
Improper disposal is one of the reasons why synthetic products become of the problems and causes of ecological imbalance. It destroys ecosystem that can kill the organism and at the same time it causes various problems in the living world such as pollution
Throwing Toxic Waste into the Bodies of Water
Because of the conversion of agricultural land into industrial estates or residential subdivisions more toxic waste are created by man. Industries uses chemicals in making their products and some industries are very irresponsible in disposing their waste. Some of them even release toxic waste in the bodies of water like rivers and lakes which leads to death of marine animals and microorganisms. A decrease of decomposers can cause delay of materials to return from the living to the nonliving environment.
What is the best way to resolve and combat ecological imbalance?
Introduction of Foreign Species into an Area
One way by which man affects the equilibrium of interaction in a food web is the entering of a foreign species into areas where they're so no natural enemies. These natural enemies are:
For example: In the Philippines, some species such as water hyacinth, the toad and golden snail have been introduced, but because of lack of natural enemies, it becomes a pest in proportion and outrages into uncontrollable number.
- Environmental Issues that is Caused by Human Activities in the Biosphere
Social and environmental issues that disrupt the order of the ecosystem. Issues that affects human lives for its wrath and bad effects.
- Biotic Factors of Ecosystem: Producers, Consumers and Decomposers
Ecosystem is composed of biotic factors of a community of living organism interacting with one another which we can see in food chains/webs.
- Abiotic Factors: A Component of Ecosystem
Abiotic factors are also known as non living organism or living things. Learn about their part and role in the ecosystem.
Removal of Predator Species
Removal of predators in the ecosystem is fine, but declining their number in a very low proportion interfere the balance of interaction within a food web. A massive elimination of predators in the biotic community can disturb the prey population to elevate imbalance in density.
- Killing snakes in the field may cause a rapid increase of rat population because deprivation of snake population and other predators of rats. The elimination of snake in the rice field decreases predators of rats.
- Deforestation causes owl to migrate which is also a rat predator; this will lead to the dramatic upsurge in rat population of the area.
- In Australia, overfishing of the Giant Triton causes death of coral reefs; this Giant Triton is a predator of the crown-fish-thorn starfish.
Causes of ecosystem imbalance
There are certain issues and problems that are related to ecological imbalance. These are problems that have evolved because of the disruption of ecological equilibrium. Probably, there are three major problems which effects of imbalances in the ecosystem:
1. Global problems – these are problems that affect different nations and can only be resolve through solidarity of affected nation. Some global problems are:
- Global warming or Greenhouse effect
- Acid Rain
- Pollution (Air and Marine Pollution)
- Depletion of ozone layer in the atmosphere
- Radioactive fallout because of nuclear war
2. National problems – these are problems that affect a country and can only be resolved within the country. These national environmental issues are:
- Pollution (air, water and soil)
- Degradation of natural resources such as soil erosion, deforestation, depletion of wildlife, shortage of energy, degradation of marine ecosystems and depletion of mineral resources
- Alteration and inconsistent land use like the conversion of agricultural land into industrial estates, conversion of mangrove swamps into fishponds and salt beds.
3. Community problems – these are problems that affect in a particular localities or communities and can only be resolve at in that exact level.
- Broken and not flowing drainage
- Stench damping site (Pollution)
- Widespread of epidemic in localities
References; Science and Technology by Lilia M. Rabago Ph. D , Crescensia C. Joaquin Ph.D, Catherine B. Lagunzad , PH. D, Encarta