Q1. Explain how the ecosystem was affected by the missing species for each round of the demonstration.
a) Round 1. The exclusion of flowers from the ecosystem reduced the amount of food that bees produced. The role of flowers in the ecosystem was to provide nutrients for other trees. As a result of the flowers missing in the ecosystem, the bees produced less honey. However, more “fruit tree pollination” occurred.
b) Round 2: Removing bees from the ecosystem affected the production of honey, which is human and wildlife food. Apart from creating an imbalance of nutrition in the ecosystem, the removal of bees affected pollination between trees and within flowers. Absence of pollination (fruit tree) meant that there would be no fruits, creating nutrition shortage for humans and some animals.
c) Round 3. The removal of trees from the ecosystem presented several challenges, basically because trees belong to primary producers. First, humans rely on trees for oxygen. The absence of trees in the ecosystem, therefore, meant that there was a shortage of oxygen for humans, other plants, and animals. Trees are also homes for some animals, for example birds. Birds fecal matter fertilizes the soil. In absence of trees, therefore, birds would migrate from the ecosystem, reducing soil fertility. Trees, apart from providing oxygen and being homes for some animals, are also sources of food and shade. Organisms that relied on trees for food and comfort (shade) strained in their absence.
d) Round 4. Removal of humans from the ecosystem. This was, surely, the best intervention in the ecosystem. This is because humans are the worst destroyers of the ecosystem. In absence of humans, there would be no removal of trees (deforestation). Humans clear trees to develop urban centers and industries, the leading environmental pollutants. The ecosystem would therefore remain green without any pollution that is caused by human activities.
Q2. Provide one action we as humans engage in that leads to the extinction of each of these components. (Action affecting Lichens, Action affecting Trees, Action affecting flowers, Action affecting bees)
Cutting trees to create space for development is an action that affects lichens. Lichens usually grow on the backs of trees. Some lichens grow under trees, making soil fertile. In the absence of lichens due to tree-cutting, therefore, land becomes bare and infertile. Deforestation leads to extinction of trees. The reasons for deforestation include creating space for agriculture, industries, and urban settlements. Flowers become extinct due to deforestation, affecting bees, which rely on them for nectar. Bees (and other animals, for example birds and insects) also rely on trees for their habitats. Deforestation, therefore, denies bees (and other animals) their habitats.
Q3. Provide three specific actions that humans can take to minimize our impact on the ecosystem and ensure the survival of lichens, trees, flowers, and bees.
a) Humans should minimize using fossil energy (fuel) as a way of minimizing pollution.
b) They should plant trees and flowers. These are ways of enriching the ecosystem.
c) Humans must stop littering. After doing that, they should use recycling as a strategy of clearing the environment, and making it free of wastes.
The focus of these initiatives is the creation of a green environment. These measures attempt to eliminate urban sprawls. Giving a great attention to deforestation, which is the biggest challenge against achieving a green environment, is important to improve our ecosystems.