Ecological Imbalance: Its Causes and Effects in the Biosphere

Updated on November 12, 2017
Ecosystem | Source

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:

  1. The cyclic flow of materials from abiotic environment to the biosphere and then back to the abiotic environment.
  2. 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.

Ecological balance
Ecological balance | Source

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.

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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:

  • Predators
  • Parasites
  • Competitors

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.

Migration of birds
Migration of birds | Source

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.

For example:

  1. 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.
  2. Deforestation causes owl to migrate which is also a rat predator; this will lead to the dramatic upsurge in rat population of the area.
  3. 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

Environmental Issues

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

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    • profile image

      smruti 2 months ago

      nice but...... ok

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      Santosh nair 5 months ago

      it was helpful for my home work. i loved it

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      Priti 5 months ago

      Please tell me the answer of what will happen if evosystem gets imbalance

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      Balmukund Shrikisan Chandak,Arvi,Wardha,India. 11 months ago

      Ecological Imbalance: To overcome this important issue,everybody must take problem very seriously .I am requesting to whole world that everybody must plant a tree in the memory of deceased family member,nourished them.It will help to overcome ecological imbalance to some extend.

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      R.Geethu 11 months ago

      It was very useful for me to do my investigation work. I thank this person for updating this. Thanks very much!

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      stella joy m. abelida 17 months ago

      i have many learn

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      who? 2 years ago

      ty very much

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      Namantika from India 2 years ago

      A very useful site with lots of nice,effective and top most information.

      Also tells the role of responsible individual to initiate control measures. Frankly, i liked this site too much. Bye but this site is eyecatching and attractive so i'll be back again sometime. B-BYE.!!!!

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      suryakant CHOUDURY 2 years ago

      Very good site and our responsibility for the first boarding school

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      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      This is an interesting overview of the causes ecological imbalance. I know they all need to be addressed, but my main interest lies with the removal of predator species and the introduction of non-native ones. With this one (and also with the others), people want the convenience of whatever is causing the problem and many don't care about the consequences. I think this hub and the others you've written about the environment will introduce people to the problems and, hopefully, get them interested enough to want to help find solutions.