Nature is structured into ecosystems that play an important role in keeping the environment and biodiversity healthy. Being a part of nature, humans too can help maintain the environment and wildlife health by creating the garden ecosystem. Building a garden ecosystem enhances biodiversity since it attracts a host of wildlife and provides them with food and a safe habitat for living and reproducing. Such an ecosystem also benefits the environment by limiting air, water and soil pollution. It also regulates local atmospheric temperature and flow of water. Specific types of garden ecosystems also allow for organic farming that permits the production of healthier and cheaper food for human consumption (“A Backyard”).
A garden ecosystem essentially comprises of the producers i.e. plants that produce food using sunlight and consumers i.e. the animals that eat the plants or other plant-eating animals. This ecosystem also comprises of decomposers such as bacteria, fungi, worms and insects that decompose the organic dead matter and return crucial nutrients to the earth (Martinez).
More specifically, the important components of a garden ecosystem include soil, plants, insects, birds, mammals and the gardener. The soil forms the basis of a garden ecosystem. It is on the soil that plants grow and a variety of other organisms such as microbes and insects that help plant growth and maintain soil fertility survive. Indeed, the healthier the soil in the garden, the more diverse would the plant communities that grow on it be, which in turn would attract a larger variety of wildlife. Ultimately, this would make the ecosystem more stable (Bauholz).
Plants in a garden ecosystem constitute four different vertical layers namely, ground, shrub, understory tree and canopy that are important for sustaining different forms of wildlife. Insects such as butterflies, beetles, earthworms, spiders, caterpillars and bees and myriad birds and mammals in this ecosystem help keep the soil healthy, act as pollinators, contribute to fertilizer production and prevent pest infestation. In return, this ecosystem benefits them by providing food and shelter. Above all, the gardener is vital to any garden ecosystem for it is he/she who chooses the plants, works the soil and makes the engineered garden ecosystem attractive, both to a diverse wildlife and to the human eye (Bauholz).
The components of a garden ecosystem can be classified as biotic and abiotic. The biotic components comprise of the plants and animals, whereas the abiotic components encompass soil, sunlight, water, temperature and atmospheric gases. While the right soil type i.e. of the correct pH, temperature and texture is vital for plant growth, without sunlight, it is simply not possible for plants to act as the producers of a garden ecosystem. Similarly, the atmospheric gases i.e. oxygen for respiration, carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and nitrogen for soil fertility are indispensable parts of the garden ecosystem. Finally, temperature and availability of water greatly influence the plant and animal distribution in this ecosystem. Temperature of the garden ecosystem also affects germination of seeds, time of flowering and migration of animals (Bauholz).
“A Backyard Ecosystem.” Ferncreekdesign. FernCreek Design, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. < http://ferncreekdesign.org/backyardecosystem.html>.
Bauholz , Henri. “Components of a Garden Ecosystem.” eHow. eHow UK, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. < http://www.ehow.co.uk/facts_5903977_ecosystem-garden.html >.
Martinez, Jessica. “Ecosystem of a Garden.” eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. < http://www.ehow.com/facts_5903977_ecosystem-garden.html>.