Ecological Efficiency

Ecological Efficiency



the percentage of usable chemical energy transferred as biomass from one trophic level to the next is called ecological efficiency ecological efficiency depends on the proportion of assimilated energy incorporated in growth storage and reproduction but simply it depends on the total amount of energy in organism needs to survive and thrive for example when we as humans consume large quantities of meat we are essentially demanding more and more energy from the environment depending on what types of species and ecosystems are involved the ecological efficiency ranges from 2 percent to 40 percent with a loss of 60 to 98 percent of the original energy this energy is generally lost as heat through metabolism since each trophic level only receives an average of 10 percent of the original energy from the previous trophic level there won't be more than four to five levels of trophic structures top level carnivores and detritivores therefore need to eat the most since they are receiving the least amount of the sun's original energy on average between 0.1 percent and point zero one percent modern agriculture is constantly seeking to increase the efficiency of production so that we can yield the most food possible however in simple agricultural ecosystems the amount of energy required to produce large quantities is enormous conversely ecosystems rich in biodiversity have higher ecological efficiency than ecosystems with low biodiversity in other words when species are removed due to human or other environmental impacts or when we consider vast monoculture agricultural ecosystems the ability of the ecosystem to utilize the sun's energy decreases due to the world's growing population there is an ever increasing demand for food more land is needed to grow this food but it's at the cost of biodiversity throughout the planet large-scale agriculture which is normally used to grow fruits and vegetables for direct consumption are being used to feed billions of cattle thus our demand for energy is beyond what is sustainable for the earth to provide what's more we are decreasing the planet's global ecological efficiency if we observe our close inter dependence on energy within ecosystems we may come to understand how our choices impact the world around us

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