An ecosystem does not exist in isolation. Its existence is dependent upon the components within it and its relationship with external elements. Since the Industrial Revolution, the Earth has experienced great change, much of it at the hands of humans. Humans have increased the extinction rate of the world's plants and animals by 10,000 percent. As awareness of this impact has increased, however, so have the positive influences that humans have had on ecosystems.
An ecosystem benefits from humans through environmental management, which aims to restore balance and minimize disturbances within an ecosystem.
With the creation of the National Park Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, and state-managed wilderness areas, unique ecosystems have been preserved so that future generations may experience the grandeur of the American landscape, despite environmental pressures such as increased tourist traffic.
Humans help ecosystems by assuming the role of predators such as wolves, which were nearly eradicated early in the 20th century, and help prevent prey species such as deer from depleting food resources.
Through clean air, clean water, and other regulatory measures, humans have reduced the amount of pollution they create, allowing ecosystems to recover from past impacts such as acid rain.
According to a Harris Interactive Poll, over two-thirds of Americans recycle, which uses 90 percent less energy, thereby reducing their environmental impact and benefiting the ecosystem.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Laurent Saint Jean
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