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ECOLOGY and the Real Estate Practice

By: Jesse E. Sarmiento Jr.

Understand Ecology and Ecosystems and why these are relevant to the Real Estate profession Know the Basic Principles, Terminologies and Concepts of Ecology Be familiar with the Philippine Environmental Impact System (EIS) and related terms (EIA, ECP, ECA, and ECC) Gain the necessary knowledge to pass the Ecology portion of the Real Estate Brokers Exam

I. Definition of Ecology II. Ecosystem the concept III. Systems IV. Trophic Levels V. Population VI. Community (Diversity & Stratification) VII. Ecological Succession VIII. Abiotic Components IX. EIS ECC *** Glossary***

I. Definition of ECOLOGY
Ecology The study of the interactions of organisms with: Other organisms, and The physical environment or habitat It is also defined as the study of relationships among organisms and their environment and among the various ecosystems in the biosphere

II. ECOSYSTEM the concept

Ecosystem = the complex of a community of organisms and its environment functioning as an ecological unit Two Basic Parts:
BIOTIC the component of an ecosystem composed of living organisms ABIOTIC the component of an ecosystem that is composed of energy and non-living matter

Abiotic and Biotic

Ecological Hierarchy - Biotic

Levels-of-Organization Hierarchy
Ecosphere/Biosphere Biome Landscape Ecosystem Community Population Organism Organ system Organ Tissue Cells

III. Systems
Each level of biological organization involves abiotic and biotic interaction through matter and energy exchange. Each level is a system. Each system can be thought of as an energy transformer and a matter processor.

Definition of SYSTEMS
A system is a collection of parts or events that can be seen as a single whole thing because of interdependence and interaction of the components.

Types of SYSTEMS
Open systems: systems that depend upon outside
environment to provide inputs and accepts outputs. Example of which is the Earth, it receives inputs of energy from the sun and outputs heat energy which is passed to outer space. Solar energy is radiated towards the Earth but the atmosphere shields and keeps some solar radiation from reaching the biosphere. Approximately 50% of sunlight reaching the upper atmosphere continue to Earths surface. The Ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet radiation. Solar radiation derives major atmospheric cycles, evaporates water, generates winds, waves and currents as well as powering virtually all of the organisms existing on earth.

Types of SYSTEMS (cont.)

Cybernetic systems: systems that use some sort of feedback mechanism to regulate themselves. Cybernetic systems have ideal states or set points (the states or points at which the system maintains itself.) Ecological Systems are both open and cybernetic.

Systems Matter & Energy Exchange

What are Abiotic components? What are Biotic components? What is the fundamental energy source? How does this energy source vary at different locations around Earth? Where are Plants in the flow of energy and materials? Why are plants called the Producers, or for more emphasis, the Primary Producers? What is meant by Consumers? What are Herbivores? What are Carnivores? What are the sources of Energy and Materials for carnivores? What are Decomposers; what is their "role"? Why can they be called Recyclers? Where do Humans fit in?


The Greek root of the word troph, means food or feeding. Links in food-webs primarily connect feeding relations or trophism among species. Biodiversity within ecosystems can be organized into vertical and horizontal dimensions. A Trophic Level is defined as "a group of organisms acquiring a considerable majority of its energy from the adjacent level nearer the abiotic source. The horizontal dimension represents the abundance or biomass at each level. When the relative abundance or biomass of each functional feeding group is stacked into their respective trophic levels they naturally sort into a 'pyramid of numbers'.

Trophic Levels and Food-Webs

Roles by Trophic Level

Production Basis Primary Producers Secondary Producers Consumers Decomposers Consumption Basis Producers Primary Consumers Secondary Consumers Decomposers Type of Living Thing Plants Herbivores Carnivores Detritivores Heterotrophs Trophic Level Autotrophs

V. (Ecological) POPULATIONS
Population is a group of individuals of the same species that occupy a given area and interbreed with each other. Characteristics of Populations: 1. Statistical 2. Genetic

POPULATIONS (Char. cont.)

1. Statistical birth and death rates, immigration and emigration (dispersal), dispersion patterns, intrinsic rate of increase, biotic potential, age distribution, growth forms and density. 2. Genetic adaptability, Darwinian concept of reproductive fitness, persistence (probability of leaving descendants over a long period of times).

Factors Affecting Population Size

1. 2. Limiting Factor - Law of Minimum under a steady state conditions the essential material available in amounts closely approaching critical minimum needed will tend to be limiting. Limiting Factor - Law of Tolerance Organisms have an ecological minimum and maximum range, which represents the limits of tolerance. Beyond this critical points the organism is absent.

If an organism is absent in an area, it does not necessarily mean that the physicochemical environment is not within its tolerance range. It might be merely the inability of the organism to reach the place (dispersal problems/geographic barriers) or the presence of strong biological deterrents (competition, herbivory, predation, parasitism, etc) or preferences (habitat selection).

3. 4.


Factor Compensation - Organisms modify their environment so as to lessen the limiting effects of physical conditions of existence Extrinsic and Intrinsic Factors Extrinsic Factors: Factors that operate on population from outside it (climate, food supply, etc.) Intrinsic Factors: Factors that are generated within the population (territorially, social stress) Population regulation the tendency for the population to return to its equilibrium density while population stability is the tendency to remain at constant size.

Factors that can regulate Populations

1. 2. 3. 4. Competition Physical environment Predators Behavioral phenomena/social interference 5. Genetic phenomena

An ecological community is any assemblage of different populations living in an area with a certain degree of integration. Similar communities and ecosystems that cover a specified area are referred to as biomes. The largest major community is the biosphere, all biomes taken together containing all living creatures.

Biodiversity (Biological Diversity)
Generally, in a community there is a relatively small percent of usually abundant species and a large percent of rare species. Diversity tends to be low in physically controlled systems, tends to be high in biotically controlled systems. When cost of maintenance is high, diversity tends to be low. When the environment is stressful, diversity tends to be low.

Diversity (cont.)
Diversity has two components namely:
1. Varietal refers to the kinds of species occurring in a prescribed area. 2. Evenness refers to the distribution of individuals among the species.

Diversity is related to stability. Generally, diversity enhances stability through a greater feedback mechanism among the co-occurring species.

a. Most spatial (vertical) stratification of aquatic systems tends to be dictated by the physicochemical environment. In terrestrial systems the stratification is a function of the biotic component. b. Stratification creates environmental diversity, which in turn increases the number microhabitats and allows a greater degree of community diversity. c. Generally, the more stratified the community, the greater the biotic diversity.

Stratification (cont.)
d. All ecosystems tend to have the heterotrophic and autotrophic strata. e. Horizontal stratification results from climate differences and dispersion patterns f. The transition between two terrestrial communities is referred to as an ecotone. It contains species from two adjacent communities as well as species characteristic of the transition zone.

Stratification (cont.)

Periodicity is another type of stratification (temporal). This refers to regularly recurring changes determining rhythmic or cyclic changes in biological activities. a. Seasonal (i.e. phenology, mating, migration) b. Daily circadian (i.e. Phytoplankton migration) c. Lunar (most marine organisms have lunar rhythms)


Ecological succession processes of changes over time. This involves: a. colonization b. site modification, and c. species replacement.

Succession that begins in a sterile area devoid of previous biological influence is called primary succession. Secondary succession begins in sites where previous biological activities influences preset sites.

Autotrophic succession begins with predominantly inorganic environment and is characterized by early and continued dominance of producers. Heterotrophic succession is characterized by early dominance of heterotrophs (i.e. sewage or a fallen log). Energy is maximum at the beginning but declines and unless autotrophic activity takes place, the whole community dies out or migrates.

Characteristics of Ecological Succession: a. Orderly process that involves species structure and community changes with time. b. Directional and predictable c. Results from modification of environment. Environment sets the limit to the rate and state of development but the changes are biotically controlled. d. Culminates in a quasi-steady state with maximum biomass maintained by a unit of energy flow.


LIGHT or, generally, RADIATION and, specifically, SOLAR RADIATION (sunlight) TEMPERATURE affected by specific heat and heat capacities in calorific or metric measurements of the biome and/or its components

ABIOTIC (cont.)
WATER - The rate of diffusion of CO2 and O2 is approximately 10,000 times slower in water than it is in air. When soils become flooded, they quickly lose oxygen and transform into a low-concentration environment and eventually become completely anoxic where anaerobic bacteria thrive among the roots. Water also influences the spectral composition and amount of light as it reflects off the water surface and submerged particles

ABIOTIC (cont.)
ATMOSPHERIC GASES oxygen, nitrogen, greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, nitrous oxide, ozone) SOIL - composed of particles of broken rock that have been altered by chemical and mechanical processes that nclude weathering and erosion. In engineering, soil is referred to as regolith, or loose rock material. For our discussion, Strictly speaking, soil is the depth of regolith that influence and have been influenced by (lack of) water and plant roots.

ABIOTIC (cont.)
GRAVITY governs many of the geophysical properties and distributions of ecological biomes across the Earth. On a organism scale, gravity provides directional cues for plant and fungal growth, orientation cues for animal migrations, and influence the biomechanics and size of animals. SOUND WAVES communication for MARINE and deep underground biomes

ABIOTIC (cont.)
PRESSURE Climatic and osmotic pressure places physiological constraints on organisms, such as flight and respiration at high altitudes, or diving to deep ocean depths. These constraints influence vertical limits of ecosystems in the biosphere as organisms are physiologically sensitive and adapted to atmospheric and osmotic water pressure differences. Oxygen levels decrease with increasing pressure and are a limiting factor for life at higher altitudes.

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