Ecosystem disturbances and ecosystem services
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Ecosystem Disturbances and Ecosystem Services. Chapter 3. Ecosystem Disturbances. A large part of environmental science is studying what happens when natural or anthropogenic disturbances occur or predicting what will happen when they do. What is a WATERSHED?.

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Ecosystem Disturbances and Ecosystem Services

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Ecosystem disturbances and ecosystem services

Ecosystem Disturbances and Ecosystem Services

Chapter 3


Ecosystem disturbances

Ecosystem Disturbances

  • A large part of environmental science is studying what happens when natural or anthropogenic disturbances occur or predicting what will happen when they do


What is a watershed

What is a WATERSHED?

It is an area of LAND that water flows across or through downstream on its way to a stream, lake or ocean.

The watershed acts like a funnel collecting all the water within an area into a larger waterway.

It is also called a Drainage Basin


Watershed study hubbard creek

Watershed Study- Hubbard Creek

  • Deforested watershed vs. forested watershed

  • Take aways:

    • 1) disturbances in ecosystems disrupt natural cycling and systems

    • 2) Forests/vegetation are important for accumulation and maintenance of soil nutrients


Case study haiti

Case Study- Haiti


Case study haiti1

Case Study- Haiti

  • Take aways-

    • 1) poorer nations often rely on cheaper fuels such as raw or less processed biomass like trees and charcoal

    • 2) positive feedback loop - - less trees = more erosion = less vegetation

    • 3) #2 has economic impacts - - less farming, greater impact from natural disasters, less jobs

    • 4) Finding innovative solutions to environmental issues must strike a balance and must acknowledge the connectivity between the environment, human health and well being, and the economy

    • -Related story: WangaariMaathaihttp://www.greenbeltmovement.org/wangari-maathai


Resistance vs resilience

Resistance vs. Resilience

  • Resistance – how much a disturbance affects flows of energy and matter

    • -a disturbance that affects populations and communities but not the flow of energy and matter we say it has high resistance

    • More biodiversity = greater resistance


Resistance vs resilience1

Resistance vs. Resilience

  • Resiliance – how quickly an ecosystem can recover and return to its original state

    • - more biodiversity = greater resilience

  • Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis

    • Take away – the more diverse an ecosystem is the better off it is!

  • Restoration Ecology – studies how to reverse effects and restore original ecosystem services

    • EX: wetland remediation


Ecosystem services

Ecosystem Services

  • Ecosystems provide all of our essential needs: clean water, shelter, clean air, etc.

  • Instrumental value – value based on if the entity can be useful, act as a tool, or provide a service.

    • Can often associate a monetary value with it

    • EX: Water purification

    • Provisions

    • Regulating services

    • Support services

    • Resilience

    • Cultural Services

  • Intrinsic value – moral value or benefit


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