Nutrient Cycling

Many nutrients are cycled through ecosystems. Biomass is made up of organic compounds manufactured from these nutrients, and as organisms ecosystem an ecological community together with its environment biomass the total dry weight of an organism or group of organisms compound a substance formed from two or more elements ecosystem an ecological community together with its environment

Adjacent fields of rice and wheat in California's Sacramento Valley.

mutualism a symbiosis between two organisms in which both benefit die and decompose, the nutrients return to the soil or the atmosphere to be recycled and reused again. Agricultural ecosystems lose nutrients with harvest removal, and because of their more simplified ecological structure, lose a greater proportion of nutrients to the air or by leaching in rain and irrigation water. Humans must return these nutrients in some form. In a well-designed agroecosystem, the farmer strives to keep nutrient cycles as closed as possible, reducing nutrient losses while searching for sustainable ways of returning exported nutrients to the farm.

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