Everything that relates to thriving communities ties directly to ecosystem health and security, because without ecosystem services humanity will not survive. Ecology is the study of interactions between biotic and abiotic elements, like atmosphere and carbon cycles, migrations and seasons, geography and species ranges – it’s all inextricably connected.
We must understand and defend ecosystems for the services they provide us. Ecosystem services are the natural systems and cycles that keep the biosphere habitable for all life, including us. Ecosystem services are grouped into four categories: regulating, such as the control of climate and disease; supporting, such as nutrient cycles and oxygen production; provisioning, such as the production of food and clean water; and cultural, such as aesthetic, spiritual and recreational benefits.
Another approach to understanding our complexed relationship to nature is the Biophilia Hypothesis (Kellert and Wilson, 1984), defined as “the human affinity for life and life-like systems.” There are nine categories of biophilia, from the utilitarian use of nature for fuel, food and water, to our aesthetic choices to manicure perfect lawns and gardens that look like prototypical savannas. We do not exist, feel or think independent of our natural world and our natural history shaped by it.
As important as nature is to our survival, the absence of nature can have psychological repercussions, called “Nature Deficit Disorder”. Nature-deficit disorder is the idea that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors, and the belief that this change results in a wide range of behavioral problems. Being terrified of pigeons and squirrels, or touching dirt and grass, is a conservation ethic driven by fear and control (dominionistic and negativistic biophila). This affects how much we learn about nature, value and vote on issues related to preserving wildlife and ecosystem services.
THEORY OF BIOGEOGRAPHY
Therefore, we must establish more wild space and defend it fiercely. Half-earth is an ecological principle based on the Theory of Biogeography, whereby diversity of life relates directly to the geographic area available for species to live. Every time you divide a forest by half, 10% of wildlife disappears. It is time to re-wild the land and sea surrounding our communities. Here are steps you can take.
Create habitat in your backyard. Trees, butterfly gardens, and bird/bat houses, are simple additions with added benefits of insect pest control.
Go pesticide-free. In many communities pesticides and rodenticides travel through the food web and impact dozens of species other than the target pests.
Bird-proof your windows. Estimated bird fatalities from hitting glass are in the hundreds of millions. A simple mesh screen is an easy fix.
Keep trash locked up and cats locked in. Trash invites scavenging predators endangering them and you, and cats kill 10s of millions of song birds, mammals and reptiles each year.
Biotic components, or biotic factors, can be described as any living component that affects another organism or shapes the ecosystem. This includes both animals that consume other organisms within their ecosystem, and the organism that is being consumed.
An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows.
In biology and ecology, abiotic components or abiotic factors are non-living chemical and physical parts of the environment that affect living organisms and the functioning of ecosystems. Abiotic factors and the phenomena associated with them underpin biology as a whole.