All animals interact with their environment beyond simply feeding as even walking can affect the makeup of the environment by crushing grasses or insects. Still, not all animals have the same degree of effect on the environment - certain animals are considered to be “ecosystem engineers.”
These ecosystem engineers include crocodiles and beavers, animals that substantially change the environment around them to adapt it to their needs. Clive G. Jones defined ecosystem engineers as “organisms that directly or indirectly modulate the availability of resources to other species, by causing physical state changes in biotic or abiotic materials. In doing so, they modify, maintain, and create habitats”(Jones 1994).
Of course, not all organisms that have non-trophic effects on their environment are ecosystem engineers. It is simply that the effects of the ecosystem engineer tend to be the best studied as they have the largest, most deliberate effect. H...
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...ing monoculture comes a plethora of plant viruses that were previously reduced by diversity. As Castello states:
“As forests become monocultures of one or several species,
and as they suffer from mismanagement...they become more vulnerable to the impacts of biotic and abiotic stresses”(Castello 1989).
Problematically, little is known about plant viruses and thus little is known about how to manage forests to prevent viruses or reduce their impact. There is some disagreement on whether a lack of disturbances truly leads to monoculture as certain ecologists including Hubbell believe that recruitment failures outweigh any possible effect of disturbances (Hubbell 1999). However, as studies have shown, disturbances can drastically increase recruitment failures. Nearly all researchers did agree that anthropogenic disturbances universally reduce diversity in ecosystems.
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