More on"Ecostasis"

The original definition of ecostasis is based not in biology generally, but is centered around the social and economic conditions of an individual person.

This is an anthropocentric definition as given by the Urban Dictionary. Their definition of ecostasis is:

“the current trend of putting your entire life in hold due to current economic conditions, life changes, or poor financial decisions.a condition similar to hibernation when a person is severely limited by their financial status.”

That kind of definition severely limits its use to an individual person in an adverse socio-economic condition. The biological definition as described below applies to life on the entire earth, and in a planetary context.

Ecostasis is defined here biologically, as a derivative of the term homeostasis which applies to the individual organism that maintains a dynamic equilibrium, that is the maintenance of constancy of basic functions by means of accessory functions. A good example of homeostasis would be the maintaining of a basic function, such as internal body temperatures. When body temperature becomes too high, an accessory function of evaporative cooling (eg: by sweating or panting) would prevent hyperthermia. When body temperature becomes too low, an accessory function of shivering would prevent hypothermia, thus an animal such as a mammal would maintain its internal body temperatures within a normal range and thus that mammal could survive in an environment in which there are fluctuating ambient temperatures. However, there are limits in any organism to its ability to maintain a basic function. If a mammal loses too much water, that mammal may lose its ability to maintain its internal body temperature and would perish due to hyperthermia. If ambient temperature becomes too high, it exceeds an organisms ability to maintain homeostasis, and that organism may die.

Cold causes shivvering releasing body heat
Heavy exercise causes sweating and evaporative cooling.


So it is with ecostasis of an ecosystem or a biome. In a tropical rain forest for example, the numbers and densities are always fluctuating, but within specific limits due to ambient conditions.  As long as the ambient conditions of moderate temperatures and heavy rainfall remain constant,  then ecostasis is maintained and the tropical rain forest remains as an identifiable system.

 However, if ambient conditions change and, for example, rainfall decreases and temperatures increase beyond the limits of the organisms living there. the ecosystem also changes so that is no longer recognizable as a tropical rain forest. That rain forest may perhaps change into a system that is recognized not as a rain forest but as a savanna, where the trees are widely separated and the region once dominated by dense vegetation is replaced by grasses.





Ecostasis and human ecology

The world human population now forms a major part of ambient conditions of the planet Earth. Because of the ability of humans to modify the environment in which they live, although it may in the short term benefit human adaptation to planet Earth, in the long term that ability may lead to human self destruction! Some of the ways by which humans modify the environment, includes building highways, cities, factories,and farms to grow crops. To do this it takes energy. Beginning with the industrial age approximately 1850 and beyond, sources of energy were derived from oil and coal. When oil and its derivatives such as gasoline are oxidized, carbon dioxide and other pollutants are released into the atmosphere. The use of coal also results in the release of carbon dioxide and pollutants. Although carbon dioxide by itself is not a pollutant, there are limits to how high carbon dioxide concentration in Earth's biosphere can withstand. Carbon dioxide and other gases  such as methane, can trap heat coming from the sun, and as a result global temperatures increase as we release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Methane is a  gas that is more effective in trapping heat than carbon dioxide. One  source of methane are gases released by cattle. According to an article byJohnson and Johnson from the American Scoiety of Agronomy, "Ruminant livestock can produce 250 to 500 L of methane per day." Cattle is one of the most widely used source of meat and other products throughout the world. So as the human population increases, the demand for more meat, for example, also increases. To accommodate this increasing demand, forests such as found in Brazil, are often cleared to provide a grazing area for cattle. Plants such as trees can use carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. So as forests are cleared there are fewer plants to utilize carbon dioxide thus further increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. So the combination of increasing herds of cattle producing methane and the clearing of forests, both activities contribute to increasing atmospheric concentrations of both carbon dioxide and methane.  As a result they both increase resulting in ever more global warming.


(See more about Sources of Greenhouse Gasses)

Overpopulation is the basic cause to climate change and global warming. World leaders, journalists, and media commentators are all concentrating on the problem of global warming and the resulting climate change. But they miss the point, that is the basic cause of climate change. That basic cause is too many people on the planet that has limited resources; such as limited arable land, limited sources of energy, and limited water for drinking and irrigation.

 As the human population increases, the entire planet Earth will have a disturbed and possibly an irreversible change in the global  ecostasis. A disturbed planetary biosphere may be sufficient to end human existence.


I would like to propose a new definition of "ecostasis":

 "The maintenance of  a dynamic constancy with respect to the species, species diversity, and species density of the populations that inhabit a given ecosystem under a specific range of ambient conditions including temperatures, available sunlight, and amount of rainfall per year."

 It is possible that there could be two definitions for the term "ecostasis" just as there are two definitions of the word "foot".