What does ecology study?
The Amazon forest has a rich vegetation. And the variety of animals is also huge.
It is estimated that in a single tree of the Amazon forest can be found more than a thousand different species of insects.
In fact, if we gather all the rainforests of the planet, we will see that there are more than half of the living species in them. We can then say that the Amazon forest has a great biodiversity.
See now a picture of the caatinga. The vegetation is already quite different.
Why is there such a difference? This is one of many questions that ecology tries to answer.
Here are just a few more examples of important questions related to our lives that ecology tries to answer: "What can happen if a forest is destroyed?"; "Is it possible to exploit a forest without causing its destruction?", "How does a human being interfere with the life of other organisms?"; "What causes the rise in temperature on Earth?"; "And what can happen if the temperature of the earth rises too much?"; etc.
Let's take an example. Consider the Bugio, one of the largest neotropical monkeys, living from Bahia to Rio Grande do Sul. It lives in flocks of three to twelve individuals, of both sexes and various ages, headed by an adult male. Its diet is predominantly folivorous (leaves). The other foods are flowers, buds, fruits, creeping stems.
Ecology can study:
- the relationships a flock of Howler monkeys have with the other forest beings;
- the influence of climate on all forest organisms;
- the influence of neotropical forests on climate;
- the influence of human action on the climate of the entire planet.
You may conclude that ecology is a very broad field of study. And all this information helps us improve the environment in which we live by reducing pollution, conserving natural resources and protecting our health and that of future generations.
Summing up: Ecology is the science that studies the relationships of living beings to each other and to the environment.