Introduction to ecosystems
Introduction to ecosystems

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5.6 Human influences on ecosystems

Figure 3

Here are some of the questions that you have been considering this week.

  • Can you think of examples where ecosystems have been negatively affected by human activity, and where they have been managed and operated to benefit humans without damage to the system?
  • How does damage to one ecosystem have an impact on another? Why are small changes so significant?
  • Do you agree with the following assessment: ‘Some elements [of ecosystems] are crucial but there are some additional extras the system could survive without.’
  • What are the factors contributing to high level of species diversity and does the need for biodiversity outweigh the need for natural succession?
  • What is the significance of Wicken Fen? What kind of ecosystems and habitats would result if it wasn’t managed by humans? What would be the result if Wicken Fen was destroyed or lost?

As you consider the questions, you might like to explore the topics covered this week in the Ecosystems area on OpenLearn [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Use your answers to these questions to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of management of ecosystems in the Week 5 forum.

You will continue to explore the impact of humans on the environment in Week 6.

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