Essay on Ecosystems—the Basic Biosphere Model



The different habitats which exist in the biosphere support various combinations of life forms. The ways in which life forms interact with one another and with their habitat surroundings can best be studied by use of a model called an 'ecosystem'.

Because of the almost infinite variety in the habitat conditions then so there is an equally wide variety of ecosystem types.

The term 'ecosystem' has been used for about 70 years, the first written reference to the word being in Elements (1916) though it was Gleason (1922) who made extensive use of the term of infer the unique combinations of plants, animals, climate and soils. Tansley (1935) also made extensive reference to the term in his study of relationships between vegetation and habitat conditions.

Eyre (1970) was responsible for renewing the bioecologist's interest in the ecosystem. It was he who portrayed the ecosystem as a concept or model which allowed the organism and its environment to be studied as an integrated unit. Because ecosystems are merely models they cannot exist in reality.

In this respect they differ from habitats which do exist in reality. The habitat comprises the physical and chemical components which support life forms.