An ecosystem diagram can be used in determining the affects of outside influences and conditions on a terrestrial or aquatic ecosystem. The plan will enable researchers and developers to see how different parts of the food chain or environment will be impacted by changes.
Differing climatic conditions or human influence can alter the ecosystem. This will show in the numbers of plants and animals and insects that survive and multiply. If the diagram shows any radical changes, researchers can strive to offset adverse reactions through understanding and knowledge.
The diagram will begin with the fundamental landscape of the ecosystem. If a terrestrial ecosystem is involved, the charts ecosystem will map the ground strata, the drainage, soil types, the water catchment, the underlying types of rock and the topography of the area. The ecosystem will then record the covering of the strata. The rocks, shale, sands, soil and water that cover an area are all mapped in the diagram. From there the plant life will be included in the ecosystem diagram.
Once the plant life is mapped, from the smallest flowering plant, fungi and spores, to the largest trees and lianas, the diagram will begin to look at living organisms like insects, mammals, birds, reptiles and humans. The ecosystem diagram will name and correlate numbers and placement of these creatures and species.
Climatic conditions, the average daily temperature and the diurnal range will be noted. Humidity, rainfall, precipitation averages, drainage and frost levels will all become part of the records.
The ecosystem diagram will then begin to look at the interaction between species. From the water-table through to the canopy the way in which each flower blooms or each insect feeds will become an item on the diagram. It is through the interaction of each species of plant and animal, insect and bird that the food chain is brought into focus. As a plant absorbs water, light and air to grow, the ecosphere will take that into account.
As the plants grow, they become fodder for herbivores, or insects. This is another aspect of the diagram. The food chain is an important function of an ecosystem plan. It helps to map where needs are met and needs are not fully achieved. When a species declines or is in crisis the diagram can help find and alleviate the problems. When human encroachment is part of the problem an ecosystem diagram can help save endangered or threatened species before they become extinct.