What Is the Definition of "ecosystem"?

The definition of ecosystem is a system that is formed by a community of organisms interacting with their environment. Both living and nonliving things within a particular area make up the ecosystem.

In nature, ecosystems can range in size from small ponds or a tree to larger areas like a desert. Everything in that area, from water and soil to animals and plants, make up an ecosystem. Even climate, light and air play important roles. If there is not enough light or the right nutrients in the soil to support plant life, the plants can die. This can cause a chain reaction that kills animals and destroys the ecosystem.

Natural disasters, changes in climate and human interactions can cause problems in an ecosystem. Because of this, healthy ecosystems are home to many different species. This helps protect the ecosystem from significant damage in the event something bad happens.

Ecosystems are formed of producers, consumers and decomposers. Producers, like green plants, make their own food. This allows animals to eat the plants to get their energy and other animals to get energy from eating other consumers. Decomposers are the plants and animals that help break down other plants and animals when they die. This helps to put nutrients into the soil that help future generations of plants to grow and start the cycle over.