Ecology of Ecosystems

Ecosystems are networks between organisms and interactions between organisms and their environment on limited space. The space limitation which determines the intensity of these interactions between organisms and environment is determined by the available area of ground. A cross-section through an ecosystem already shows the levels where these interactions are most intense. At the one end this is the leaf canopy where different plant life forms (trees, shrubs, herbs) compete for light by outshading the neighbors. At the other end intense competition exists in the soil where roots compete for water and nutrients. In the organic layer litter fall, decomposition and nutrient uptake interact chemically in such a way that organic acids are lost. This causes leaching of cations and results eventually in podsolization, which may make the area unhabitable for some species. Only some species can penetrate into the resource rich deeper soil layers.

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