An ecosystem is defined as a group of organisms and their biophysical environment interact and exchange matter and energy, collectively, they form an ecological system. By identifying the characteristic patters of interaction it is possible to distinguish different types of ecosystem. Many forms and features have been accountable for the destruction of different ecosystems.
This has been achieved within the atmosphere-varies in temperature, amount of rainfall; the hydrosphere-closely linked with atmosphere, the atmosphere determines the nature of the water cycle in a particular area; the lithosphere-determines the nature of soils and provides habitats for many of the decomposer organisms; and the biosphere-where all living life exists, can be affected by carbon emissions and other chemical factors. With these factors contributing to ecosystem variations, practical management strategies must be utilised.
The main factors that need to be protected within an ecosystem range from utility value, maintenance of genetic diversity, intrinsic value, and heritage value. Utility value Economists consider all living and non living components of the earth’s ecosphere as having an existing or potential utility value. By maintaining and protecting ecosystem, we are maximising our race’s ability to adapt to change. The enormous diversity of life represents a huge date base of genetic material can be tapped into as human needs change. he loss of a species; plant, fungus, bacterium or virus denies us a of potential future source of food, medicine, chemicals, fibres and other such materials. Human survival depends upon a few species, mainly a few grains such as wheat, rice. Despite genetic engineering, plant breeders still rely upon selective breeding to develop varieties of these crop plants that are able to withstand climate change, salinity, disease and insect attack. Such crops are located in their native environments which are at risk In the developing world, for example, rice is derived from China.
Due to the excessive exhaustion of the many genetic variations, plant breeders still need to turn back to their genetic source replenish their genetic material, consequently, they are adding more genetic variations to a particular strain of crop, making it more resilient to environmental changes. Management is very important because exploiting the utility value of ecosystems, if taken to the extreme, will ultimately destroy the environment. Proper management techniques are needed to minimise the risk of environmental degradation Maintenance Immense maintenance must be undergone to protect our future ecosystems evident within our environments.
Vital to such a reassessment will be the need to adopt values, attitudes and practices that conform to the idea of sustainable development. Characteristically, ecosystems that are rich in biodiversity have a greater resilience and as a result, are able to recover from natural and human induced stress. Diversity allows a species to adapt to changes within its environment. The more successful a species is at adaption, the less vulnerable it it. Communities of plants and animals tend to survive periods of stress because within the ecosystem, there are organisms not adversely affected by the change.
The organisms that are most likely to survive are the ones that have certain characteristics that allow them to survive. The loss of genetic diversity that is caused by human intervention has to be considered as an opportunity cost of an ever expanding technosphere. The loss of an ecosystem will ultimately destroy a vital part of our environmental basis for potential sustainability in which we can learn or benefit from, through medicines and food and general ecological diversity, which means we have to maintain our natural ecosystems.
Intrinsic Value. Within the biophysical environment every component is reliant upon one another for persistent survival. An example to highlight this principle would be indigenous people scattered throughout the world; e. g Aboriginal people believe they share a symbiotic relationship with the biophysical. This concept is reinforced through their cultural and spiritual beliefs, called the Dreamtime. The Dreamtime is a framework used to govern the ways they live; Aboriginal people have been practising sustainable ecological management for tens of thousands of years.
This can be seen in firestick farming, Aboriginals acknowledge through their actions, behaviour and beliefs that they are responsible for the continued existence of their world. Management and the intrinsic value of ecosystems can lead to potential conflicts amongst users of the ecosystem as there are two opposing views. The two opposing views is the urban society who have the resources to maintain and exploit resources their own benefit and the other which is the more indigenous society that has been maintaining the ecosystem for a long time, e. Aboriginines – has been tens of thousands of years and have been successful in maintaining the ecosystem. Heritage values Heritage values are defined as being ecosystems or features that are physical or biological that pertain to have a global, artistically visual and scientific value. The field term conceptualises the heritage value of ecosystem mainly in terms of material and morphological artefacts. In the UNESCO World Heritage context, the set of cultural landscapes written on the World Heritage list clearly shows a preference for cultural landscapes characterised by a unique morphological cultural imprint on the natural landscape.
The concept of natural heritage can be out to large areas as well as those places that are in close proximity to human settlements, and education has played a crucial role in informing the public of the need to protect and manage ecosystems. The result has been that as support has grown, so has the list of Heritage sites. It is considered that preserving important elements of our natural heritage is a responsibly to all people. The diversity on the planet is the result of ongoing evolutionary change and has been argued by professionals that all humans have a moral responsibility to ensure that natural change continues unimpeded.
To ensure that this does occur, large areas of representative ecosystems will need to be protected. To protect them, policies such as those examined below much be implemented. The policies that will need to be implemented will affectively protect these aspects include; be large enough to protect and conserve intact ecosystems and to allow natural processes to occur unimpeded, have boundaries that reflect environmental not political needs, considering the needs of the local people.
If it isn’t considered, It could be that the people who once depended on the area, now has to result to destructive methods such as poaching as they have no other way of income. Be well managed and effectively resourced and be surrounded by ‘buffer zones’ that for the greater good restrict human activities. In all,the maintenance of genetic diversity, utility value, intrinsic value, heritage value and the need to allow natural change to proceed unrestrained. Ecosystems must be managed and protected effectively because it is within humanity’s and the planet’s best interests for a thriving future