The relevance of the ecosystem concept to geography cannot be overstated, since it provides not only a means of describing, analyzing and understanding a large number of problems in physical geography, but also provides a theoretical framework and approach which can be of great help in human geography.
According to Stoddart (1965), the ecosystem concept has the following chief qualities so that it is of great use in geographical investigation:
(i) The ecosystem concept is monistic, fusing physical environment, people, plant and animal life into one framework within which the inter-relationship between the components can be analysed.
(ii) Ecosystems have an organisation and are structured, which is useful to study and rationalization.
(iii) All ecosystems function, involving the components and processes in operation between them. This makes quantification possible for at least part of an ecosystem, in the case of large ecosystems, or possibly the entire ecosystem in the case of small examples.
(iv) Ecosystems are a type of general system as evidenced by the definitions given above.
(v) Ecosystems may be defined at any scale.