CACHED 23/01/2018 6:46 p.m.

Ecosystem dis-functions (EDF)

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Ecosystem dis-functions (EDF)

When EFs are damaged or destroyed, the outcome is referred to as an ecosystem dysfunction (EDF). While EF result in a positive feedback which supports biodiversity, biomass and response capacity, EDS generate negative feedback.

Response capacity of an ecosystem is its ability to carry out ecosystem processes, from which EF and ES are derived (see earlier). In other words, it is how resilient an ecosystem is to changing conditions, such as temperature, rainfall, oxygen concentrations, atmospheric carbon concentrations, etc.

Causes of ecosystem dis-functions:


  • Pesticide application
  • Pollution


  • Some pathogens or insects can cause severe dysfunctions, such as killing tree species and changing forest community structure as a consequence.
  • Some organisms produce one or more biochemical that affect the survival, reproduction or growth of other species (i.e., allelopathy).
  • Some plants alter hydrological cycles and destroy freshwater ecosystems

 Examples of ecosystem dis-functions:

Kauri dieback disease produced by the soilborne pathogen Phytophtora taxon Agathis affecting Kauri trees (Agathis australis (D.Don) Loudon) in New Zealand. Photo: Toby Ricketts.

Bark beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) damage in conifers (Pinus spp.) in the United States. Photo: Colorado State Forest Service.




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