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Ecosystem Succession

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Ecosystems can change over time in a process known as natural succession. When an ecosystem is disturbed, both the physical (abiotic) and living (biotic) characteristics may be altered. Disturbances may be natural (e.g., a fire started by lightning) or anthropogenic - human caused (e.g., a fire started by a campfire.)

Answer the following in your posts:

Choose a specific ecosystem and discuss the consequences for damage to the ecosystem and recovery of the ecosystem when it is disturbed by a natural AND an anthropogenic events.
Describe the severity of the disturbances.
How will the abiotic and biotic characteristics of the ecosystem change?
How quickly will the ecosystem recover (the ecosystem's resilience)?
Should recovery be allowed to proceed naturally, or should humans intervene with restoration practices? Why or why not?
Use research to find examples of disturbances to ecosystems to support your statements.

HELPFUL HINTS: Ecosystems may include things like forests, coral reefs, estuaries, oceans, lakes, rainforests, etc. There are many real life example of ecosystems being destroyed or rebounding from natural and anthropogenic causes.

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Solution Preview

An example that comes to mind is the forests of the southwest, which have been affected by pine beetles and forest fires. Forest fires can be natural or caused by humans. Humans often use "controlled burns" to keep levels of combustible materials from building up to dangerous levels. Lightning strikes can easily ignite dry underbrush and huge firestorms can develop. People generally act quickly to put out such fires, especially if homes are nearby. Many plants rely on fires to clear out tall trees which block the sun. ...

Solution Summary

Discussion of ecosystem succession using southwestern forests as an example.