What Is the Ecological Significance of Interdependence?

Interdependence is a significant relationship among species in an ecosystem that helps to prevent overpopulation of particular species to ensure the survival of each species as a whole. The interdependent relationship among species in an ecosystem implies that each species' existence depends upon other species' existence. For example, a carnivore depends on the existence of herbivore prey in order to survive, herbivores depend on plant life for survival and plant life depends on microorganisms within the soil to thrive.

The interdependent relationship within an ecosystem can go beyond the linear food chain ranging from carnivore to herbivore to microorganism. Often, certain plant life or herbivore prey creatures can also depend on the existence of predator carnivores for the survival of the larger species. For example, insects such as the caterpillar, which depend on plant species for survival, can actually flourish in an ecosystem that contains predator species. This can be attributed to the fact that the predator species in an area can prevent the overpopulation of herbivore species that typically eat plants on which caterpillars depend.

This interdependence is multifaceted and can include a web of numerous species, depending on the environment, climate and the presence of human civilization nearby. In general, the interdependence within an ecosystem allows for the natural balance of nature to take place, while preventing the overpopulation of certain species and allowing for the thriving of others.