What Is the Difference Between a Natural & Artificial Ecosystem?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 8, 2020 11:52:53 PM ET

There are several differences between natural and artificial ecosystems, including sustainability, diversity and purpose. A natural ecosystem has a diverse amount of species and plants, whereas artificial ecosystems are limited. Natural ecosystems are self-sustaining and result from spontaneous natural reaction, while artificial ecosystems require the assistance of humans.

A natural ecosystem is the result of interactions between organisms and the environment. For example, an ocean is classified as a marine ecosystem, which consists of algae, consumers and decomposers. A cycle occurs in this type of ecosystem that begins with algae converting energy via photosynthesis. After consumers feed on the algae, energy is transferred between the organisms. Once consumers die in this system, decomposers turn them into organic matter. This process occurs naturally over a period of time, whereas in an artificial ecosystem, human intervention is required.

An artificial ecosystem is not self-sustaining, and the ecosystem would perish without human assistance. For example, a farm is an artificial ecosystem that consists of plants and species outside their natural habitat. Without humans, this ecosystem could not sustain itself. The plants and animals need the help of humans to eat and survive. The purpose of artificial ecosystems are recreational, educational or profit. The purpose of natural ecosystems is simply natural circumstances.

Another major difference between a natural ecosystem and artificial ecosystems is diversity. Natural ecosystems contain more natural factors and organisms. The relationships between organisms, each other and the environment in this ecosystem are more complex than that of artificial ecosystems.