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Retell one of the texts.
Read the texts using your dictionary.
Answer the questions to Text 1.
Give definitions to the following concepts from Text1.
1. How does energy flow through communities?
2. What is a trophic level?
3. How do nutrients move within ecosystems?
4. What trophic levels do you know?
5. Give your own example of a food chain.
6. Explain the phases of ecological succession.
Human interference in the development of ecosystems is widespread. Farming, for example, is the deliberate maintenance of an immature ecosystem—one that is highly productive but relatively unstable. Sound management of ecosystems for optimal food production should seek a compromise between the characteristics of young and mature ecosystems, and should consider factors that affect the interaction of natural cycles. Short-term production can be maximized by adding energy to the ecosystem in the form of cultivation and fertilization. Such efforts, however, can hinder efficient energy use in the long run by producing an imbalance of nutrients, an increase in pollutants, or a heightened susceptibility to plant diseases as a consequence of intensive inbreeding of crops.
Although an awareness of the interdependence between human society and its environment was already prominent in ancient philosophy and religion, the formulation of the basic principles of systems ecology as a scientific discipline began in the late 19th century. During the second half of the 20th century, the study of ecosystems has become increasingly sophisticated and is now instrumental in the assessment and control of the effects of agricultural development and industrialization on the environment. On farms, for instance, it has shown that optimal long-term production of pasturage requires a moderate grazing schedule in order to ensure a steady renewal of the moisture and nutrient content of the soil and has emphasized the need for multiple-use strategies in the cultivation of arable lands. Systems ecology has been concerned with the consequences of accumulated insecticides and has provided a way of monitoring the climatic effects of atmospheric dust and carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels (e.g., coal, oil, and natural gas). It has helped to determine regional population capacities and has furthered the development of recycling techniques that may become essential in humanity's future interaction with the environment.
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