The Relative Importance of Physical and Human Factors in Causing Change in Ecosystems

913 Words Mar 30th, 2013 4 Pages
Assess the relative importance of physical and human factors in causing change in ecosystems
(30 marks)

Both human and physical factors impact upon ecosystems due to their holistic nature which means that even small changes in the human or physical environment around them can cause an exponential chain of results. However these factors can be both positive and negative to varying degrees.
Some of the most obvious physical factors which cause change in ecosystems can be seen through succession; for example in the sand dune ecosystem in Talacre, North Wales you can see how the vegetation changes with distance from the high mark. The further in land you travel across the sand dunes the more densely the vegetation become and the wider the
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Other physical factors such as humidity, wind speed and temperature will also have an impact upon the ecosystem however the changes will be far more subtle as it is most likely just to change the rate of growth and development of the vegetation rather than its ability to survive.
Human factors often have a bigger impact on ecosystems than can be perceived from the surface as usually a factor which only impacts one species directly will have an impact on the whole food web it is involved in. For example the sand dunes in Talacre, North Wales have been damaged by a public foot path being built across the centre of the dunes, this has lead to an increase in people walking through and across the dunes as they do not sick to the footpaths, trampling vegetation causing server damage. The increase in people also means that there has been an increase in the amount of litter on the dunes; this litter causes changes in the ecosystem as it can block light form getting to plants causing them to die and animals can eat it which can also result in death. Both trampling and littering cause a reduction in the species diversity of the ecosystem by destroying habitats as well as directly killing flora and fauna, this is why it is a very important human factor which must be managed. However not all human factor which cause changes in ecosystems are negative; a much more important factor then those I have previously

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