An ecosystem may be as small as a rotten log, or as
large as the planet, but we define an ecosystem as an area with uniform soil, vegetation
Ecosystems are collections of living organisms and their physical environment (soil
particles, air, water). Some of the relation-ships are understood. Plants harness energy
from the sun and provide food and shelter for animals. In turn, many plants need the help
of animals to reproduce. Animals eat seeds and spread them, undigested, to other places.
They also spread seeds by picking them up on their feathers and fur.
However, there are many relationships that are hidden from our sight and we are only
now beginning to understand. There are millions of bacteria, tiny plants and animals in
the soil. We have not yet even described most of these, let alone understand their roles
in creating the fertile soil on which the forests depend.
All the parts work together to provide healthy, functioning ecosystems.
An ecosystem may be as small as a rotten log,
or as large as the planet, but we define an ecosystem
as an area with uniform soil, vegetation and organisms.