Explain what it means when we describe an ecosystem as being in equilibrium.
Equilibrium means biotic and abiotic features remain relatively constant over time.
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Ecosystem refers to biological and physical features of a geographical area. It includes the nature and population density of all living organisms including plants and animals in that area as well as geographical and physical features such as climate, nature of land and soil. All these biological and physical factors interact each other affecting growth and continuation of the ecosystem. For example the physical environment affects the vegetation in the area. This affects the type and number of herbivorous animals that can live off such vegetation. In turn the population of herbivorous animals affects the type and number of carnivorous animal that can live off them. But the carnivorous animals tend to reduce the population of herbivorous animals. Also the number of herbivorous animals will affect the growth and depletion of vegetation shield. The vegetation shield itself affects physical factors as cooling effect of forest cover, and retention of water in the soil.
Ecological balance refers to the condition in which the population of various living thing in the ecosystem remains fairly stable. This also means that the physical condition of the ecosystem also remain relatively unchanged unless some major disaster or some other external activity alters the physical conditions or the balance of living things.
Equilibrium occurs when everything is working together to maintain the ecosystem by rebuilding and repairing itself. If all the living things are getting what they need to remain stable for long periods of time, we say that the ecosystem is in equilibrium.
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