The key difference between environment and ecosystem is that the environment refers to the surrounding while the ecosystem refers to a community of living organisms and their interaction with a non-living component of the environment.
There are much concern and emphasis on the environment since anthropogenic activities have fastened the environmental pollution. Hence, people and the government focus on executing different mechanisms to save the environment and reduce pollution. When we talk about the environment, we need to know about its one of the smaller units known as an ecosystem. Environment and ecosystem are two interrelated terms in Ecology. Hence, this article will discuss the difference between environment and ecosystem.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Environment
3. What is Ecosystem
4. Similarities Between Environment and Ecosystem
5. Side by Side Comparison – Environment vs Ecosystem in Tabular Form
What is Environment?
When we talk about the environment, we mostly concern with the part of the ecosystem that makes up the atmosphere. However, the environment is a concept different from the ecosystem as it talks about surroundings and not about organisms and their interactions with other organisms.
Generally, the environment includes the abiotic components of the surrounding environment such as the ozone layer, global warming, pollution of rivers, pollution of air, etc. Moreover, the way we use the word environment when we say ‘save the environment’ or ‘environmental pollution’ refers to the ecosystem.
What is Ecosystem?
Ecosystem refers to a biological community that occurs in some place or geographical region and consists of both biotic and abiotic components that collectively make up its environment. An ecosystem may vary greatly in size from a colony of ants to a huge pond, grassland, or a huge rainforest. Furthermore, an ecosystem has clearly demarcated physical boundaries though they may not be obvious to us (for example shoreline in the case of a pond).
Researchers often need to draw boundaries of an ecosystem for their study. Study of ecosystems is a special branch of ecology and is known as ecosystem ecology. This is a study that links biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem. We know that ecology is the interaction of organisms with one another and the environment in which they occur, and when this study is done at the level of an ecosystem, it is called ecosystem ecology.
When studying an ecosystem, the focus goes on understanding the system as the whole without giving a much concern for a particular species or an organism. And, this includes functional aspects such as energy consumption and its production, interdependence of biotic components on abiotic components, the links of the food chain and food web, and the factors that are important for the sustenance of the ecosystem.
What are the Similarities Between Environment and Ecosystem?
- Environment and ecosystem are two interrelated things in ecology.
- They include abiotic components such as soil, air, water, etc.
- Besides, living organisms in an ecosystem depend on the environment for resources for shelter and food.
- Also, there are different types of interactions occurring on both environment and ecosystem.
What is the Difference Between Environment and Ecosystem?
Environment means our surroundings. On the other hand, ecosystem refers to an independent system comprising both abiotic and biotic components and their relationship with each other. Thus, this is the key difference between environment and ecosystem. Likewise, the environment includes components such as everything surrounding us, including physical, chemical and natural forces too while, in the ecosystem, they are both the biotic and abiotic components and their interactions.
Summary – Environment vs Ecosystem
The environment is everything that surrounds us. It is the place where organisms live. On the other hand, the ecosystem is a community of living organisms and the physical factors of the environment that organisms depend. Therefore, this is the key difference between environment and ecosystem. However, both environment and ecosystem depend on each other to maintain the balance of nature.