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Population Increase Affects Both Ecosystems and the Food Chain
An ecosystem is generally understood as the combination of biological, physical, and chemical elements that make up a particular environment, and it can be anything from a lake to a rainforest to a desert.
An ecosystem consists of two components, the abiotic components such as sunlight, temperature, water or moisture and soil chemistry, and the biological, from plants to insects, animals to humans, all of which interact with each other.
Ecology is a way of describing how the various components of an ecosystem interact and function, such as the energy produced by photosynthesis or how energy and matter flow through the food chain.
Energy transfer occurs in a continuous cycle from growth to decay and throughout the ecosystem, and the rate at which this occurs depends on many factors. However, energy transfer through a food chain becomes more inefficient as it progresses from the primary producer level (plant) to the herbivore primary consumer level and to the carnivore level.
This is all well and good when the various components of an ecosystem are balanced and working well together but it doesn’t take long to destabilize it.
Changes in climate, such as prolonged drought or rainfall, can affect the balance or shifts in animal populations so that there may be too many predators in a given area to support.
Human activity is one of the most significant impacts on ecosystems in a variety of ways. Once an area of land is used for a specific purpose such as agriculture, it can cause many problems.
Once populations began to accumulate in communities and the economy became increasingly dependent on urban life, a greater scientific understanding of public health and medicine led to lower death rates and increased population growth.
This puts greater pressure on land workers to become more efficient in food production, and innovations such as farm machinery – and eventually methods such as chemical and mineral-based pesticides and fertilizers – are used to control pests and crop diseases and increase yields. from the ground.
Meanwhile new and more “efficient” farming methods create a hostile environment for wildlife, insects and their natural predators, perhaps because habitats and shelters such as hedges have been removed to allow large farm vehicles to operate efficiently.
Equally intensive agriculture means that the soil does not have time to regenerate and restore nutrients naturally through cycles of growth and decay. Human population is increasing due to increase in life expectancy and birth rate and increased stress on ecosystems.
Centuries of such “improvements” in food production and population survival and growth have resulted in current concerns about food scarcity and the need for farmers to increase food production.
But it has also become clear that increasing food production must be done in a sustainable manner as the disadvantages of previous farming methods have become apparent, not only due to the effects of some old generation fertilizer residues on human health, but also due to the damage caused to the ecosystems in which they have been used.
So the current emphasis is on sustainable farming practices and integrated pest management, but something must change if the world is to support a population of over 9 billion by 2050 without further damage to the world’s ecosystems.
Biopesticides developers are at the forefront of finding solutions, researching more natural (a.k.a. low-chem) agricultural products – using natural ingredients to create biopesticides and yield enhancers that will protect the soil and help increase production on limited amounts of land. Available by reducing waste from crops destroyed by disease and predators.
It is the work of these innovators that will be the key to providing enough food for the future and protecting the land and its vulnerable ecosystems.
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