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Module 2: Basic Ecological Concepts and Principles

Introduction to the module:

One of the very serious

problems not only in our country, but all over the world is DEGRADATION. DEGRADATION: the wearing down of the land by the erosive action of water, wind, or ice.

We have this adverse environmental issue and problems, which will serve as a driving force that result to environmental conservation and sustainable development. This means that people must collaborate and work hand in hand with the goal to save Mother Earth.

Adoption of new value, change of habits and lifestyle towards the PRESERVATION and CONSERVATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT; these are the requirements to obtain Environmental awareness,

consciousness and understanding. The results are People provide SOLUTIONS to environmental problems of their community. This will prove that WE need to inculcate in our minds the need to love, care and nurture the environment.

BUT WHY conserve and preserve the environment? Because of environmental crises. Among the solutions are environmental education, information and advocacies.

Ecology is the study of the relationships between the living organisms and their environment. No living organisms exist under isolation. The term “ecology” was coined by German Biologist Ernst Haeckel from oikos (House or living place) and logos (study or science of). Literally it means study of the earth’s house. It has two types: autecology and synecology. Autecology deals with the relationship s between an organism or population and environment, whereas synecology focuses on the relationships between communities and their environment.

Relationship of science of ecology and branch of biology:

 

Genetic

Cytology

 

Histology

Anatomy

Ecological Concerns

Molecular

Cell

Biology

Biology

   

Biochemistry and Physiology

       

Biotic

Genes

Cells

Tissues

Organs

Organisms

Populations

Communities

compone

nts

Interactin

             

g with

Abiotic

Matter~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

compone

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Energy

 

nts

 

Biological

Genetic

Cell

Tissue

Organ

Organismic

Population

Ecosystem

Systems

System

System

System

System

System

System

Terms that will be encountered in this module:

Population

It is a group of organisms belonging to the same species living together in a certain area or habitat.

Community It is a group of organisms belonging to different species living together and interacting in a certain area or habitat.

Ecosystem It is a group of organisms and their interaction or interrelationships with the nonliving environment.

Biosphere It is composed of all living organisms on or around the earth.

Ecological Niche It is the physical space occupied by an organism and its functional role in the ecosystem.

Habitat It is the place where an organisms lives.

ECOSYSTEM

It is an interaction of the

living organisms and nonliving environment. It is an area within the natural environment in which physical factors such as rocks & soil, function together along with interdependent organisms, such as plants & animals, under

the same habitat to form a stable system.

Components of Ecosystem:

  • 1. Biotic or Living components Bio means life. Therefore, the biotic components refer to the living world of an ecosystem. Such as plants, animals and microorganisms.

  • 2. Abiotic Or nonliving components Which includes air, water, soil, inorganic substances, organic substances that link biotic and abiotic factors, and climate regime in a given area.

Biotic Components:

  • 1. Autotrophs These are organisms that fix light energy and use simple inorganic substances to build up complex substances and which includes plants.

  • 2. Heterotrophs

these are the organisms that utilize, reaerrange and decompose the complex materials, particularly the animals, bacteria, and fungi.

Primary Producers Green plants are called producers or the first level of biotic component of the ecosystem. Through photosynthesis plants synthesize their own food like proteins and fats and hence are also called autotrophs. Besides this,

producers also maintain CO2/O2 balance of nature.

Herbivores

Also called as plant eaters. These are the primary consumers that eat plants only.

Carnivores Meat eaters, the secondary consumers that ingest other animals for their food

Omnivores Which eat both plants and animals Microorganisms Obtain nourishment by absorbing dissolved organic material.

they are called

saprotrophs or osmotrophs They are responsible for the decomposition or breaking down of dead organic matter. Detritus feeders They extract nutrients from partly decomposed matter Such as crabs, termites, carpenter ants and earthworms. Nonliving Components of the Ecosystem Hydrosphere(water) One of the most unusual natural compounds found on earth, and it is also one of the most important. Covers 71% of the earths surface and a meduim of transport of several ecosystems.

Properties of Water Solvent

Carrier Temperature regulator Protectant Lubricant Has high heat capacity Has high heat conductivity

Important Process which Involves Water Dissolving of minerals and nutrients for use in natural processes in the body. Hydrolysis Support of aquatic organisms Fertilization of gametes Dispersal and germination of seeds, gametes and larval stages of aquatic organisms Photosynthesis Osmosis and turgidity Transpiration Translocation of microorganisms and organic compounds As habitat for aquatic organisms

Nonliving Components of the Ecosystem

Lithosphere(solid outer portion of the earth)

The role of soil in the ecosystem is that they are the source of all nutrients and water for living organisms in terrestrial ecosystem.

The rocks facilitate the storage and movement of groundwater; they are the source of mineral constituents of sediments and soils; and they serve medium of storage and transportation of groundwater.

Sediments serve as the habitat for aquatic organisms and the source of nutrients for aquatic organisms. Three Components of Lithosphere

Soil- a complex mixture of rock fragments, highly altered minerals, organic debris and living organisms which supports plants in the terrestrial environment. Rocks- consolidated units of the earth’s crust which consists of minerals that have come together by hardening of lithification of sediments, by solidification from molten mass or by alteration of a preexisting rock. Sediments- rock fragments that may or may not be chemically altered by weathering which are carried by wind or water. Atmosphere(air)

It

is the site of weather

and different gases which are needed by living organisms

Stratosphere

it is where the ozone

layer is found, absorbs ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun, thus preventing excessive amounts of UV rays to reach the surface of the earth. Energy Flow in the Ecosystem

Energy

It never appears or disappears into nothing . It can always accounted for. It is everywhere.

For life to exist, the earth must constantly receive energy inputs from the sun and make energy outputs mostly as heat, which passes on the outer space.

Energy from the sun maintains all the life processes in the earth ecosystem.

Solar

energy

Radiated in all directions,

 

part of it is

toward the

earth; but the

atmosphere keeps some solar radiation from reaching the earth.

 Sediments serve as the habitat for aquatic organisms and the source of nutrients for aquatic

First Law of Thermodynamics

It

states that energy can be

transformed from one form to another but can never be created or destroyed. It also tells us that one cannot get something from nothing. Although the amount of energy in various forms may change, the sum in all forms remains constant.

Second Law of Dynamics

It states

that every time

energy is transformed, it tends to go from a more organized and concentrated form to a less organized and more dispersed form that it is no longer useful.

The ecological implication of the second law is that the transfer of energy from one use to another is never very efficient .

The energy decreases in each successive step. Food Chain, Food Web and Trophic

made of many food chains in a community of plants and animals.

Levels

 

Food chain:

 
Food chain:

It is the transfer of energy and material through a series of organisms as each on is fed by the next.

The series of feeding

relationship between organisms that shows who eats whom. A series of steps of eating and being eaten.

A food chain is the way energy goes from one living thing to another through food.

• A food chain is the way energy goes from one living thing to another through

Trophic Levels are Composed of three basic levels, the producer, various level of consumers and decomposers.

It refers to the number of steps of the organisms are away from primary production

The energy decreases in each successive step. Food Chain, Food Web and Trophic • made of

Food Web is A relatively complex series of feeding relationships which may comprise a group of food chains.

2.4 BIOCHEMICAL CYCLES  A. Water Cycle One of the earth’s great cycles is the water

2.4 BIOCHEMICAL CYCLES

A. Water Cycle One of the earth’s great cycles is the water or hydrological cycle. Water constantly moves from the atmosphere to the earth to the oceans and back to the atmosphere. Water changes the surface of the earth. It is not simply found in the bodies of water., underground and in the atmosphere.

It is constantly cycled from one of these locations to another. The water cycle is driven by energy from the sun and by gravity. It provides the connection among the atmosphere, the lithosphere, and the hydrosphere. It makes the presence of life on earth possible.

Different Process of Water Cycle Precipitation. Condensed water vapor that falls to the Earth's surface . Most precipitation occurs as rain, but also includes snow, hail, fog drip, graupel, and sleet. Approximately 505,000 km 3 (121,000 cu mi) of water fall as precipitation each year,

398,000 km 3 (95,000 cu mi) of it over the oceans. Snowmelt. The runoff produced by melting snow. Infiltration. The flow of water from the ground surface into the ground. Once infiltrated, the water becomes soil moisture or groundwater. Runoff. The variety of ways by which water moves across the land. This includes both surface runoff and channel runoff. As it flows, the water may seep into the ground, evaporate into the air, become stored in lakes or reservoirs, or be extracted for agricultural or other human uses. Subsurface Flow. The flow of water underground, in the vadose zone and aquifers. Subsurface water may return to the surface (e.g. as a spring or by being pumped) or eventually seep into the oceans. Water returns to the land surface at lower elevation than where it infiltrated, under the force of gravity or gravity induced pressures. Groundwater tends to move slowly, and is replenished slowly, so it can remain in aquifers for thousands of years. Evaporation. The transformation of water from liquid to gas phases as it moves from the ground or bodies of water into the overlying atmosphere. The source of energy for evaporation is primarily solar radiation. Evaporation often implicitly includes transpiration from plants, though together they are specifically referred to as evapotranspiration. Total annual evapotranspiration amounts to approximately 505,000 km 3

(121,000 cu mi) of water, 434,000 km 3 (104,000 cu mi) of which evaporates from the oceans. Sublimation. The state change directly from solid water (snow or ice) to water vapor.

Advection. The movement of

water — in solid, liquid, or vapor states — through the atmosphere. Without advection, water that evaporated over the oceans could not precipitate over land. Condensation. The transformation of water vapor to liquid water droplets in the air, creating clouds and fog. Transpiration. The release of water vapor from plants and soil into the air. Water vapor is a gas that cannot be seen.

A. Water Cycle

(121,000 cu mi) of water, 434,000 km (104,000 cu mi) of which evaporates from the oceans.

A. Water Vapor

Precipitation over the ocean is more than three times greater than that over land. This precipitaion may take any several courses:

It may be immediately reevaporated by the sun’s energy.

(Simultaneous evaporation.) It may fall into the

ocean(major water reservoir) It may fall into land masses, which results :

It may infiltrate the soil to be absorbed by plants roots, used in photosynthesis and transpired It may run off to join streams and rivers and eventually reach ocean. Water is primarily responsible for eroding the earth’s surface. It may sink downward to join groundwater reservoirs and then reappear later as springs, seeps or lakes. It may be evaporated once again. Biogeochemical Cycles In ecology and Earth science, a biogeochemical cycle or nutrient cycle is a pathway by which a chemical element or molecule moves through both biotic (biosphere) and abiotic (lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere) compartments of Earth. In effect, the element is recycled, although in some cycles there may be places (called reservoirs) where the element is accumulated or held for a long period of time (such as an ocean or lake for water).

Nutrient Cycle: Living organisms need 30-40 elements for normal development. Most important elements:

Carbon:

Hydrogen

Oxygen

Nitrogen

Sulfur

Phosphorus

The most important feature of a biogeochemical cycle is that the biotic and abiotic components are tightly intertwined with one another. Without cycles, the biogeochemical cycle would cease; and without biogeochemical cycles, all life would cease.

Characteristics of Biogeochemical cycle

Movement of the nutrient element from the environment to organisms and back to the environment.

Involvement of biological organisms A geological reservoir (atmosphere and lithosphere) Chemical change

Types of Biogeochemical cycles

Gaseous nutrient cycle: it is in which the reservoir of the nutrients in the atmosphere.

The typical gaseous

nutrient cycles are the carbon dioxide, the oxygen cycle and the nitrogen cycle. Sedimentary nutrient

cycle: it is in which the nutrient reservoir is sedimentary rocks, soil and minerals. It includes the phosphorus cycle and the sulfur cycle.

These cycles are slower and tend to exert a more limiting influence on living organisms.

  • B. Gaseous – Carbon Dioxide Cycle

 Nutrient Cycle: Living organisms need 30-40 elements for normal development.  Most important elements: ◦
  • B. Gaseous – Oxygen Cycle

 Nutrient Cycle: Living organisms need 30-40 elements for normal development.  Most important elements: ◦
  • B. Gaseous– Nitrogen Cycle

 Nutrient Cycle: Living organisms need 30-40 elements for normal development.  Most important elements: ◦
  • B. Gaseous – Nitrogen Cycle The major reservoir of nitrogen is the earth’s atmosphere. Atmospheric nitrogen is combined with other chemicals into organic compounds used by plants and animals. It is a vital component of proteins which are necessary to all living things. When plants and animals die, their bodies are broken down by bacteria into ammonia, a nitrogen

compound. Other bacteria change the ammonia to nitrates. Still other bacteria break down the nitrates and release back the nitrogen as gas back into the atmosphere. B. Sedimentary – Sulfur Cycle

   

very slow pace. It begins with dissolved phosphates, which are absorbed by plants through their roots and incorporated into all cells in complex molecules. Animals get phosphorus from plants. When plant and animal

B. Sedimentary – Phosphorus Cycle
  • B. Sedimentary – Phosphorus Cycle

die or excrete waste products, their organic compound are broken down by phosphotizing bacteria into organic dissolved phosphates. Notice that in all

biogeochemical cycles, the nutrient usually enters the living systems through vegetation. Animals are unable to free and absorb the nutrient elements

Interaction among organisms

B. Sedimentary – Phosphorus Cycle  The major reservoir of
  • B. Sedimentary – Phosphorus Cycle The major reservoir of

from the soil. Plants easily absorb nutrients along with the soil water through root system. An ecosystem depends on plants not only to supply the necessary nutrient to maintain the flow of energy but also to fix the solar energy.

How do Organisms interact with each other?

phosphorus is sedimentary rock,

Mutualism

which is available to the basic cycle in small amounts as a

Competition

result of weathering. The cycle

Parasitism

does not have a major gaseous

Commensalism

phase and therefore moves at a

Predation

 

Population 1

Population 2

 

General Nature of Interaction

Mutualism

+

+

The interaction is favorable to both and obligatory.

Competition

_

_

Both organisms are affected.

Parasitism

+

_

Population 1, the parasite, generally the organism that benefits and the host is the organism that is harmed.

Commensalism

+

0

Population 1, the commensal, the benefits while population 2 is not affected.

Predation

+

_

Population 1, the predator is the organism that eats; population 2, the prey, is the organism that is eaten.

Mutualism A biological interaction in which the growth and survival of both interacting species are enhanced. In nature, neither species can survive without the other. A relationship between two organisms of different species that benefits both and harms neither. Competition A type of interaction between two populations in which they vie for the same limited resources. the struggle between organisms of the same or different species for limited resources such as food or light. Commensalism A type of interaction between two species populations where one population benefits and the other is unaffected. Parasitism A type of interaction between a host and a parasite. Called a destructive symbiosis where parasite harms the host And benefits at the expense of the host. Predation A relationship between the prey and the predator. The predator is the organism that eats and generally larger than the prey, the organism that is being eaten.

KINDS OF ECOSYSTEMS AND COMMUNITIES

The concepts of limiting factors and optimum factors can be used to gain a better understanding of the occurrence of different regions or localized areas as having

distinct biotic communities, creating a variety of ecosystems such as terrestrial ecosystems (biomes) and aquatic ecosystems (Nebel & Wright, 1998, 2000). The climate of the given region is a description of the average temperature and precipitation that may be expected on each day throughout the entire year. Climates in different parts of the world vary widely. Soil type and topography may also contribute to the diversity found in biome because these two factors affect the availability of moisture.

Common terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the Philippines

A. Terrestrial Communities/Ecosystems Tropical Rain Forest

Location: Northern South America, Central

America, Congo, western and central equatorial Africa, Madagascar, Southern Asia, various islands in the India and Pacific Oceans

Climate and Soils:

Nonseasonal. Annual temperature averages 28°C. Rainfall is frequent and heavy, the annual average being

greater than 240 centimeters. Soils are thin and often acidic and nutrient- poor.

Vegetation:

There is great diversity of evergreen and towering trees (the tallest being 60 meters or so), epiphytes (plants attached to trees) and lianas (woody vines that climb to the treetops). The forests have a dense canopy and little understory.

Animals:

Enormous biodiversity; exotic, colorful insects; amphibians, reptiles, and birds very abundant (e.g., lizards, snakes, parrots, macaws); monkeys

and small mammals, a few large predators.

Environmental Concerns:

Forest clearing to provide farms for landless peasants or large cattle ranches often leaves the land and soil barren and causes biodiversity loss and erosion. Tree removal for firewood in erosion-prone areas causes loss of vital topsoil and flooding downstream. Forest trees are cut for their lumber, often with no attention to replanting, which leads to soil erosion.

Rain forest clearing, burning, and reforestation affect the global carbon cycle and causes global warming. Loss of tropical rain forest brings wide-scale extinction of organisms or biodiversity loss.

B. Aquatic Communities/Ecosystems

Description:

Lakes and ponds are physical depressions that allow precipitation and groundwater to accumulate; in

rivers and steams, water flows by gravity toward oceans or large lakes.

Environmental parameters:

The low concentration of dissolved solids is determined primarily by soils

around the water body. Seasonal vertical stratification in lakes separates water masses.

Vegetation:

generally included in this group are microscopic algae suspended in water (referred to as phytoplankton) or on rocks and sediment (periphyton);

plants are rooted at the bottom, and submerged vegetation or emergent vegetation are also present (macrophytes).

Animals:

Microscopic crustaceans and rotifers

suspended in water (commonly referred to zooplankton); many invertebrates, especially insect larvae,

reptiles and amphibians common; many kinds of fish feeding on other animal and plant life; wading birds and ducks are common animal present.

Functions:

Important to humans because they supply fresh drinking water, provide transportation routes and serve as home for important fisheries, and

source of irrigation water and hydroelectricity.

Environmental concerns:

Toxic chemicals and other pollutants affect water quality, kill wildlife and create human health problems. Eutrophication from excessive nutrients creates unwanted growth of vegetation. Introduced species like water hyacinth and zebra mussels kill native species and choke waterways. Acid deposition leads to acidification of bodies of water, killing fish life. Erosion changes riverbeds and causes flooding and loss of aquatic habitat.

Coral Reefs

Location:

They extend from the coastline

outward, often over a continental shelf, to a depth of 200 meters. In the tropics, coral reefs are major shallow coastal forms.

Environmental parameters:

They are characterized by high productivity due to coastal upwelling and transport of nutrients from

estuaries; the water column mixes to the bottom except where seasonal vertical stratification development. Tidal currents promote mixing.

Vegetation:

Commonly included in this group are plankton algae which dominate productivity; some large benthic plants are present where water clarity permits. In coral reefs, symbiotic algae live in coral animals; other large algae and turtle grass predominate.

Animals:

Microscopic plankton abound in the water column; rich bottom fauna of worms, shellfish and crustaceans;

diverse and abundant fish fauna; jellyfish, turtles, fish-feeding birds, dolphins and whales regionally abundant.

Functions: (1) They are important as fishery and nursery areas and as tourist spots; (2)they provide protection from erosion of coastlines; (3) and almost half of the potential pharmaceuticals being explored are from the coral reef and ecosystem.

Environmental concerns:

Pollutants from estuaries and coastal ecosystems contaminate shellfish and fish. Rising sea levels will inundate many low-lying coastal areas. Overfishing of coastal fisheries causes loss of breeding stock and changes in ecology. Past whaling in coastal areas has depleted the stocks of most species. Dynamite and cyanide fishing kill many aquatic organisms leading to biodiversity loss and habitat destruction. Global warming can cause coral bleaching.

Mangrove Ecosystem

Description:

Mangroves are woody, seed bearing, highly specialized plants ranging in size fro shrubs to tall trees. Most

mangrove species live on muddy soils, but they grow also on sand, peat and coral-rock. There are two kinds of mangrove ecosystem, the mangrove swamps which consist of large trees and their associated species and the nipa swamps characterized by the growth of stemless palms.

Location:

Mangroves are found along the coastal waters of tropical and subtropical regions, tidal flats extending along

rivers, streams and its tributaries

where the water is brackish.

Environmental parameters:

Mangroves are characterized by poor soil aeration, variable salinity, high humidity, light to moderate winds, and moderate to strong currents and waves.

Plants:

Mangrove trees dominate the ecosystem due to their ability to survive in both marine water and freshwater. The most important mangrove families are the Combretaceae, the Verbenaceae and the Rhizophoraceae. Besides the mangrove tree species may other plant species thrive such as jelly bean plant, salt brush, bead weed and malalencus.

Animals:

Aside from fish, a wide variety of

invertibrates live in the mangrove

ecosystem such as worms, protozoa, barnacles, oysters and crabs.

Environmental concerns:

Thousand of hectares of mangrove areas have been destroyed due to the following: firewood collection, charcoal making, conversion to fishpond/aquaculture, conversion to commercial and real-state development, salt-making industry, dumping areas for solid wastes and oil spills.

Open Ocean

Location:

It covers 70% of the earth's surface,

from the edge of the continental shelf outwards.

Environmental parameters:

It reaches great depths (as much as 11 000 meters); except for the upper 200 meters, it is without light and cold. It is nutrient-poor, except where vertical currents bring deep water to the surface (upwelling.)

Animals:

It has a diverse zooplankton fauna together with fish fauna adapted to different depths. The bottom fauna is sparse except in regions of deep hydrothermal vents. Seabirds, whales,

dolphins, tuna, sharks, flying,fish, squid, etc. as well as unique deep-sea fish with bioluminescence are present.

Vegetation:

Commonly included are plankton species (coccolithophorids, diatoms, dinoflagellates). The vegetation varies

according to nutrient availability.

Environmental concerns:

Ozone shield depletion will kill phytoplankton in the Antarctic, affecting the entire food chain. Drift- netting in the high seas depletes fisheries and kills ocean birds, turtles and mammals. Whaling has led to steep declines in most whale species, which are still not of danger in spite of danger in spite of a moratorium. Warm temperature, pollution and other factors cause the red tide phenomenon, which poses a danger to human health. Oil pollution from ships could harm and kill aquatic organisms and destroy habitats of organisms.

C. Man-made Ecosystems I. Agroecosystem

is an ecosystem which is modified or regulated by man in order to produce food. It is self-sufficient where the living organisms and the nonliving components of the environment interact to exchange energy and matter in a continuing cycle.

It is also referred to as community of plants and animals interacting with their physical and chemical environments that have been modified by people to produce food, fiber, fuel, and other products for human consumption and processing. It comprises domesticated plants and/or

animals and the people who manage them.

The agroecosystem is characterized by the following features:

  • - The farmer decides the plant

(species and variety) to grow.

  • - It is composed of one or few species

only, simple flora.

  • - The age and status of growing plants is uniform.

    • - The farmers supplies water and

fertilizer uniformly. high.

  • - The farmers harvest the products

and remove them all away from the

yield (continuity is short.)

  • - Insect fauna is simple, comprising,

of their pests and natural enemies.

  • - There is an order of arriving of

organisms: crops, pests and natural

enemies.

  • - It is ecologically unstable due to

simple flora and fauna and low natural control effect. - The chances of pest outbreak is high.

The following are properties of the ecosystem:

  • 1. Productivity is the desired

output of a system or output of valued

product per unit resource input. It is

measured in terms of crop yield or net income.

  • 2. Stability is the property of

short-term homeostasis or the consistency of productivity in the face

of small, disturbing forces arising from the normal fluctuations and cycles in the surrounding environment.

  • 3. Sustainability is the ability of

the system to persist in the face of

repeated stress or major perturbation or it is the ability of the agrosystem to maintain productivity when subjected to major disturbing forces.

  • 4. Equitability is the evenness of

distribution of the productivity of the

agroecosystem among the human

beneficiaries, i.e., the level of equity that is generated.

  • 5. Authonomy is the extent to

which a social system is able to

function at a normal level, using only resources derived from the ecosystem over which it has effective control.

  • 6. Solidarity is the ability of the

social system to make and implement

decisions in managing ecosystem.

What problems beset the agroecosystem?

  • 1. Soil erosion, overgrazing

Huge area of productive, semi-arid, lands are being turned into worthless deserts each year by overgrazing. Continued grazing makes grass

difficult to grow. As a result, topsoil losses compactness and this will lead to rapid soil erosion.

  • 2. Land conversion

Agricultural lands, prime agricultural

lands included, are being converted into residential areas and commercial areas due to urbanization and industrialization

  • 3. Pollution

Pesticides are transported by air, water and soil, resulting in pollution.

Pesticides are found in the food we eat as well as in deep wells located near agricultural areas. The health effect in humans include increased incidence of tumors, cancer, sterility, etc. pesticides kill not only pests but beneficial animals as well.

  • 4. Loss of generic diversity

The release of high-yielding varieties or hybrids which was strongly advocated by the government in the name of modernization and world competitiveness has also caused indirect extinction of indigenous or traditional varieties. With constant use of these hybrids, the pure lines are displaced, causing genetic erosion in many of our crop sciences.

5. Depletion of ground water and salinization

In many farms, the withdrawal of groundwater for irrigation is excessive during the dry season. This has caused the groundwater to recede, affecting the availability of potable water for

domestic use. Also, when much groundwater is withdrawby agroecosystems near coastal areas, saltwater intrusion usually occurs.

II. Urban Ecosystem

Urbanization is an increasing concentration of the population in cities and a transformation of land use

and society to a metropolitan pattern of organization. A city or urban ecosystem is a differentiated community with a population and resource base large enough for urban residents to specialize in arts, crafts,

services or profession rather than natural resource-based occupations (Cunningham and Saigo, 1999).

III. Urbanization and Urban Problems

People are pulled to urban areas of jobs, a better life, better livelihood opportunities and better basic services. They may also be pushed

into urban areas by modern mechanical agriculture which uses less farm labor and allow large landowners to but out subsistent farmers who cannot afford to modernize. Without jobs or lands, those people are forced to move to cities. There jobs may expose to people to dust, hazardous chemicals, excessive noise and dangerous machinery. Problems such as pollution, garbage, flooding, proliferation of squatters shanties, traffic congestion and increase in the

incident of communicable diseases are also correspondingly increasing (Miller,

1994).

The major urban resource and environmental problems are:

  • 1. Scarcity o trees, shrubs and

other natural vegetation

This is problematic because

plants absorb air pollutants, give off oxygen, help cool the air as water evaporates from their leaves, muffle noise, provide wildlife habitats, and give aesthetic pleasure.

  • 2. Alternative of local and

sometimes, regional climate

Generally cities are warmer, rainier, foggier, and cloudier than

suburbs and nearby rural areas.

  • 3. Lack of water

This requires expensive

reservoirs, canals and deep well.

  • 4. Rapid runoff of water from

asphalt and concrete

This can overload sewers and

storm drains, contributing to water pollution and flooding in cities and downstream areas.

  • 5. Production of large quantities

of air pollution, water pollution,

and garbage and other solid waste 6. Excessive noise

Every day, one every nine Filipinos lives, works, or plays around noise of sufficient duration and intensity to cause some permanent hearing loss, and that number is rising rapidly.