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Interactive video lesson plan for: The Differences Between Natural and Artificial Ecosystems | Biology for All | FuseSchool

Activity overview:

An ecosystem can be defined as a large, highly interconnected area of the planet that is composed of several different biotic and abiotic components. A good example of an ecosystem would be an entire forest or mountain range.

A natural ecosystem is made of all the plants, animals, and environmental features in an area. Generally, natural ecosystems autochthonous resource inputs: most of the components found within the ecosystem are indigenous or native to that area. These components interact through various nutrient and energy cycles to create a large and incredibly complex webs. Sometimes these webs contain over a hundred different components and span thousands of kilometres. However, even the least complex natural ecosystems contain well over a dozen different components. Natural ecosystems consist of many species of plants and animals, and have long and complex food webs and have high genetic diversity. They are also naturally sustainable.

Artificial ecosystems have been created or altered by humans, and are not necessarily found in nature. Farms are an example of an artificial ecosystem. In contrast to natural ecosystems, artificial ecosystems are often designed to be very simple. Artificial ecosystems may only contain a few (3 or 4) different components and usually require allochthonous (external) resource inputs; i.e. they contain species and inputs that are not native. Artificial ecosystems cannot function like its natural counterpart and there is incomplete nutrient recycling, hence extra resources are required for the ecosystem to continue functioning.

Genetic diversity is very low in artificial ecosystems, and food webs are very simple or even incomplete due to killing of pest species.

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