A definition of ecosystem relates to the specific environment that contains a specific diversity of plant and animal life. The ecosystem must include the living and non living influences, from flora, fauna and fungi to the influences of their surroundings. Things such as humidity, elevation, salinity, and drainage will impact on the conditions of the living organisms right down to bacteria.
To study the definition an interaction between all the species that inhabit the area, even if they only move through the area on a seasonal basis must be considered.
The physiognomic-ecological classification system has been carry outed to identify and define the definition of ecosystem to help protect them. The classification system takes into account all the living organisms and how they interact with the non living organisms and the overall environmental conditions the ecosystem exists within.
The living organisms in the ecology will include the larger animals, mammals, insects, plants, and fungi right through to the smallest bacteria and molds. The environment and non living aspect of an ecosystem include the landscape, from the formation and types of rocks, soils, underlying water table, climate, elevation, exposure and location.
In the definition of ecosystem the number and condition of the living organisms will help in forming a classification for the type of ecosystem. The location of the landscape will also effect the ecosystems classification. There are many types of ecosystem and a definition must fit each one.
As with any environmental factors effecting life on earth, studies of any given ecosystem will include the life cycle of the trees, grasses, fungi and molds. Each living species within the ecosystem must be taken into account. Every definition needs to include climate, culture, environmental impact and symbiotic relationship between living and non living organisms. It is this relationship and the number and diversity of the life forms involved that give an ecosystem its unique value in our world.
The definition of an ecosystem must describe the specific area, keeping within its own parameters while allowing for outside influence that can impact upon the species and landforms involved. Changing climate conditions, human encroachment, flood famine and fire can all alter a specific ecosystems balance and sustainability. The ecosystem must allow for all contingencies.
An ecosystem may vary from one side of a mountain to the other, from one part of a stream to another. Any change in soil type, drainage, salinity or even human encroachment can change the whole ecosystem. They are delicate and balanced in nature, and many will not stand the impact of change.