Answer to Question #198889 in Ecology for Andiswa

Question #198889

Ecosystems have the ability to "self-regulate". Explain the concept of self-regulation as it applies to ecosystems

Expert's answer

The concept of self-regulation is a key aspect of ecosystem ecology. This concept explains why nutrients are cycled more efficiently and conserved to a greater extent in ecosystems in which nutrient availability is more limited. Just as the size of individual populations is regulated by a combination of resource limitation and predation, so the community of individual populations in an ecosystem appear to mutually regulate each other, thereby maintaining long-term stability of ecosystem processes and conditions that enhance their individual fitnesses. Clearly, manipulating ecosystems without regard to natural regulatory mechanisms, including insects, jeopardizes this long-term stability and often leads to insect outbreaks that can function to reverse anthropogenic changes.

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