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UNIT 3: Human Impact On The Environment STUDY SHEET continued

CHARACTERISTICS OF STABLE / SELF-SUSTAINING ECOSYSTEMS:


A stable and self-sustaining ecosystem 1) Has high biodiversity. Biodiversity is the number of different species in an ecosystem. High biodiversity means many different species, occupying many different ecological niches (roles) in the ecosystem. 2) Must have producers that convert the suns energy into sugars (food) for themselves, and take up nutrients from the soil. 3) Must have more producers than consumers, because energy is lost as it moves from one feeding level to the next (from producers, to primary consumers, secondary consumers, etc.), 4) Must have a constant input (supply) of energy, because energy is not recycled; energy is lost at each level of the food chain. 5) Must have decomposers to keep cycling nutrients/materials by returning nutrients from dead organisms back to the soil where they can be again used by plants. 6) Must have basic kinds of relationships that keep populations in balance, like: feeding relationships (herbivores, carnivores, omnivores); predation and competition. Even parasitism can work to keep a population in balance, contributing to a stable ecosystem.