Dictionary of Geotourism

2020 Edition
| Editors: Anze Chen, Young Ng, Erkuang Zhang, Mingzhong Tian

Ecosystem

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2538-0_595

The term ecosystem was coined by the British ecologist A.G. Tansley in 1935 to refer to the interaction of the biomes and their physical environments in a certain area. Modern ecology believes that an ecosystem is a functional unit of the interactions between plants, animals, microorganisms and the inorganic environment. It consists of three parts: green plants (the producers), animals (the consumers), and microbes (the decomposers). When the balance among production, consumption, and decomposition (i.e., the inputs and outputs of matter and energy) approaches equilibrium, the system develops into a relatively mature stage; otherwise, it is fragile. The study of ecosystems is important to human life and the environment. Ecosystems can be divided into many types based on the habitats, such as river ecosystems, estuarine ecosystems, lake ecosystems, marine ecosystems, urban ecosystems, and farmland ecosystems. Ecosystems can also be divided into representative biological communities,...

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