Kids' Corner, Ecology

What is an ECOSYSTEM? ....Bugs! Clouds! Dirt! Trees! Fish! Streams! Frogs! Thundershowers!

[Image]: TreeYes bugs, clouds, dirt, trees, fish, streams, frogs, and thundershowers are all important parts of an ecosystem! An ecosystem is made up of the interaction of all living organisms (like animals, plants, and bugs) in an area with all of the non-living organisms (like water, dirt, rocks, and the sun).

But since there are so many different kinds of plants and animals and dirt and rocks and because it rains different amounts in different places, there are lots of different kinds of ecosystems on the planet!

The clouds and thundershowers (any kind of rain, snow, or water actually!) are all part of the watercycle and also part of a watershed. Food webs are made up of simpler systems called food chains, and the areas that animals or plants live in are broken up into habitats and niches, which can be very specific.

All of these things work together to create a complicated ecosystem. If any of these parts are damaged, it could affect the entire system!

Many different factors can cause damage to an ecosystem. Sadly, much of the damage is caused by human carelessness or influence and could be avoided. Pollution, acid rain, and vandalism are some examples. Pollution can be extremely harmful to small wetland areas especially, because the pollution cannot fix itself easily in a closed system like a small pond. YOU can make a difference by not polluting and taking care of the ecosystems that you live in!

In a forest, there are three main types of ecosystems that you should know about. Do you recognize these three kinds of forest ecosystems?:

[Photo]: Shrub Steppe


Shrub Steppe

[Photo]: Forest



[Photo]: Marsh