Chapter 6 - Chapter 6 Principles of Ecology Self-Sustaining...

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Chapter 6: Principles of Ecology: Self-Sustaining Mechanisms in Ecosystems 6.1 Homeostasis: Maintaining the Balance Homeostasis is a state of relative constancy vital to the survival of organisms. Homeostasis in Natural Systems Like organisms, ecosystems possess many mechanisms that help to keep natural systems in a state of relative constancy. Factors that Contribute to Ecosystem Homeostasis Numerous biotic and abiotic factors influence the growth of populations. Some stimulate growth; others deter growth. Ecosystem homeostasis is the result of the interaction of these factors. The Resilience of Ecosystems In ecosystems, changes in biotic and abiotic conditions lead to a cascade of effects, but the systems tend to return to normal over time. The ability to resist change is called resilience . Resisting Changes from Human Activities The ability of ecosystems to recover from small changes minimizes and sometimes negates the impacts of human actions. In many instances, though, human actions can overwhelm the recuperative capacity of natural systems. Population Control and Sustainability Natural systems are sustained in large part by intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms that help to maintain populations within the carrying capacity of the environment. To create a
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