Essay on Stability, Critical Transitions, and Research Question

Published: 2021/11/22
Number of words: 1124

Shrub-Desert Landscape

Below is a loop diagram of a Shrub-Desert Landscape where components such as rain, soil moisture, vegetation cover, and soil nutrients are included.

  • In a shrub-desert landscape, there is a loss of vegetation cover that has been lost due to the desert conditions stuck in a loop.
  • There is lack of nutrients in the soil because of soil erosion.
  • The soil erosion is caused by the loss of a vegetation cover caused by a decrease of rain and moisture (Belnap, 2006, p. 3162).
  • The decrease in the rain and soil moisture is caused by a lack of vegetation cover that attracts rain, the lack of rain leading to changes in soil texture.
  • The changes in soil texture will lead to soil erosion which then leads to the soil lacking the nutrients it needs to grow vegetation (Cooper et. al, 2006, p.23).
  • The little rain that deserts receive is not likely to change the situation. This is because the soil in the desert does not retain moisture and all the water is subject to evaporation (Doerr et. al, 2000, p.40).
  • Vegetation is very crucial in the process of attracting rain and moisture. vegetation such as trees with deep roots protect the land from soil erosion, the lack of moisture and such vegetation aid in adding nutrients into the soil.
  • Scrubs are not able to perform such functions and that is why the loss of vegetation is central to all the problems surrounding the scrub-desert landscape.
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Gray Wolves into Yellowstone National Park.

Below is a loop diagram of how the reintroduction of gray wolves into Yellowstone National Park altered the ecosystem and environment.

  • Reintroduction of grey wolves in yellow stone national park altered the ecosystem both directly and indirectly.
  • First the grey wolf is a carnivorous predator that needs to hunt prey to survive.
  • Elks are what the grey wolf will survive on. These elks are the source of food other predators in the park.
  • With the reintroduction of the grey wolf, the predator to prey ratio is now imbalanced. There is a larger number of predators and less prey to hunt (Schmidt et al., 2010, p.1206).
  • With less prey the predators are likely to starve and die or migrate to seek refuge elsewhere (Berger et al., 2001, p. 950).
  • The low population will discredit the park as an attraction site and thus affecting tourism and the economic advantage tourism brings.
  • The decreasing number of elks will then affect the vegetation because animals aid in the process of pollination and fertilization of the soil the plants grow.
  • Without pollination and fertilization, the plant life in the park will decrease.
  • Other smaller animals that feed off the plants will also be affected (Smith et al., 2012, p.280).
  • The production of wild food such as berries will decrease and omnivorous animals such as bears will have limited sources of food.
  • Beers will then turn to hunting for prey in order to sustain themselves.
  • The reintroduction of grey wolves will cause drought, food shortages, death of animals and plants and eventual climate changes.
  • An imbalance in the ecosystem brings detrimental results.

The Global Ecosystem.

The loop diagram of the global ecosystem consisting of humans (human population, resource consumption, and technical know-how) and everything else (the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere).

  • The invention of technology has been the centerpiece of the global ecosystem for years.
  • With the invention of technology, there has been unlimited access to medicine and the resources that have contributed to population growth.
  • The growth of the population has then led to exploitation of resources which has led to decline in quality or wastage.
  • The overexploitation of resources enabled by the invention of technology has led to climate changes. Climate changes are affected, there is more drought and famine in the world and the atmosphere is full of poisonous gases.
  • With the climate changes, the decrease, the wastage and hoarding of resources, the poverty rates have rocketed.
  • Human beings live in areas that are harmful. Moreover, the healthcare system does not cater to the poor.
  • Poor medical services have led to higher mortality rates and thus affecting the population growth.
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A Human System

Below is a loop diagram of the how humans interact and contribute to various factors.

  • Humans are born and as they grow, they are exposed to different kinds of educational systems.
  • One of the systems include the technological know-how. Education and technology interact in a codependent manner. Where technology needs education to advance and education needs technology to advance.
  • Technology needs the human resources trained humans are willing to provide.
  • Humans then affect the environments they live in by either improving the environment or ruining it.
  • The environment then affects education. Human beings are affected by the environment according to how it raises them and what the same environment teaches them.
  • Influenced by the environment, the same human is then educated and then takes the education back to the environment.
  • The more educated party is able to change the environment so that it can advance and evolve further.


Benalp, J. ,2006. The potential roles of biological soil crusts in dryland hydrologic cycles. Hydrological Processes ,20. p. 3159–3178.

Berger, J. et al., 2001.Amammalian predator-prey imbalance: Grizzly bear and wolf extinction affect avian neotropical migrants. Ecol. Appl,11, p.947–960.

Cooper, D.J. et al., 2006. Effects of long-term water table drawdown on evapotranspiration and vegetation in an arid region phreatophyte community. Journal of Hydrology, 325, p. 21–34.

Doerr, S.H., R.A. Shakesby, & R.P.D. Walsh., 2000. Soil water repellency: Its causes, characteristics and hydro-geomorphological significance. Earth Science Reviews, 51, p.33–65.

Smith D.W. Tyers D.B., 2012.The history and current status and distribution of beavers in Yellowstone National Park. Northwest Sci,86, p. 276–288.

Schmitz, O.J., D. Hawlena, G. C. Trussell, 2010. Predator control of ecosystem nutrient dynamics. Ecol. Lett,13, p.1199–1209.

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