Ecosystems Defined

Andrew JohnsonNatural Resources, Online Courses Comments

Ecosystems Defined - Tips for Environmental Monitors

Examine Ecosystem Education

Whether you’re trekking through the woods, or working on a project site in the wilderness as an Environmental Monitor, it might be handy to know what an ecosystem is and what it is defined as. An ecosystem is defined as all of the biotic and a-biotic components of a part of the landscape and their interactions. Ecosystems can also be classified as a biological community of interacting organisms.

Okay, okay, that’s easy enough to understand – now let me tell you about terrestrial ecosystems. Terrestrial ecosystems include forests, grasslands, alpine meadows, rock slides, caves, cliffs, sand dunes, islands, avalanche shoots and glaciers. Wait – glaciers? Really? But aren’t they made up of ice – AKA frozen water AKA aquatic environments? Nope! Even though glaciers are comprised of ice, they are still classified as terrestrial environments.

So, now that you have that definition under your belt – let’s look at the difference between the definition of biotic and a-biotic organisms. Biotic components of an ecosystem are the living components of an ecosystem, which include animals, plants, insects, fungi and bacteria. While on the other hand, a-biotic components of an ecosystem are non-living components of an ecosystem. Examples of these a-biotic components include soil, water, sun and air.

Ecosystem classification is the process of grouping things that have like properties in an ecosystem.  The classification of grouping ecosystems and their components allow for Environmental Monitors to analyze these ecosystems across large areas of land or for simply for a single species. By having a better understanding of the type of ecosystem you are working in, you will be better able to assess the necessary strategies and permits that will be required during your work project’s timeline.

Want to learn more on ecosystems and their components? Then take on the Basic Sampling II – Mapping and Vegetation Ecology course included in the UNBC Continuing Studies’ Environmental Monitoring Certificate.