What does Agroecosystem Mean?

If we consult the dictionary, we will not find references to the concept of agroecosystem. This notion, however, has a fairly widespread use in our language.

An agroecosystem is an ecosystem altered by man for the development of an agricultural operation. It is made up of abiotic and biotic elements that interact with each other.

The biotic elements or factors are those living organisms that are in full interaction, such as animals and plants; These interactions are also part of this concept and are the object of ecology study. One of the most important parameters to take into account is the place where they are produced: they must all share the same ecosystem.

The relationships that living beings establish, understood as a biotic factor, condition our existence. In the case of agroecosystems, since they are based on the unnatural exploitation of a land, the repercussion not only reaches our circle but that of other living beings, just as cigarette smoke affects passive smokers. Broadly speaking, we can distinguish between the following types of biotic elements: individual, population, community, producers, consumers and decomposers.

On the other hand, the abiotic elements or factors are what give the ecosystem its physical-chemical characteristics, among which are light, humidity and temperature. It goes without saying that its importance for the development of life and the balance of ecology is considerable; for example, the distribution of living things throughout the planet depends on them, as well as their adaptation to each ecosystem, which is why any action by the human being that affects them also has consequences on biotic factors.

Agroecosystems aim to achieve a certain stability (through the management of environmental conditions) and to be sustainable or sustainable (so that exploitation can continue to develop over time without depleting resources).

Most ecosystems have been transformed into agroecosystems since, for their development, the human being usually modifies nature with the intention of favoring the exploitation of resources and obtaining food. These changes alter ecological processes, affecting from the characteristics of plants to the behavior of animals.

As can be seen, the Earth is not prepared for the degree of exploitation that human beings subject it to. One of the reasons is the overpopulation of our species, which brings with it the need for a colossal volume of agricultural production compared to what would be the case if we knew how to limit our birth rate, as all other species do.

In agroecosystems there is also an alteration of energy flows. It is common for man to supply energy sources to the ecosystem so that it can subsist.

Agroecosystem development often targets biological diversity. Suppose that, due to the profitability that the crop offers, a region turns to soy production. In this way, rural producers begin to change the characteristics of the land to limit themselves to the cultivation of this plant. Over the years, the created agroecosystem will be very different from the natural ecosystem, with a predominance of soy to the detriment of other species that previously grew there.

On the other hand, the aforementioned alterations that humans cause on the ground and, by default, in the climate, also have a negative impact on the rest of the animal species. Artificially and forcefully expanding or decreasing the growth of a certain plant brings about many changes for those who did not want or expected such changes, that is, for all but man.