Ecotone: Meaning, Importance, Edge Effect, Ecotone UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Ecotone is an area that acts as a boundary between two ecosystems or a zone of transition between two biological communities where they merge. The Ecotones can be large, small, or regional. Ecotone holds significant environmental importance. The area between the two ecosystems contains a large variety of species of flora and fauna, as this area is affected by both ecosystems.

Ecotones play a significant role in shaping biodiversity, as they provide an interface for species exchange, ecological dynamics, and adaptation to changing environmental conditions. In this article, we will explore the fascinating concept of ecotones, their meaning, importance, and edge effect.

What is Ecotone?

Ecotone can be defined as the zone where two different ecosystems meet. It serves as a vital bridge between diverse habitats, characterized by a blend of features, species, and ecological processes. Mountain ranges can also create Ecotone as there are different climate conditions on the slopes.

Ecotone Notes

As it is, they are between two ecosystems; it holds the features of each ecosystem and contains species that aren’t found in the overlapping groups. Ecotones can also be spotted at the water-land interface or one body of water meets another. For example, mangrove forests are an ecotone between the terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

Characteristics of Ecotone

Ecotones possess distinctive characteristics that set them apart from adjacent ecosystems, making them fascinating areas of research.

  • The Ecotone can be wide or narrow, and it has species that are different from those found in the bordering systems.
  • Ecotone can be man-made or natural. A common example of man-made Ecotone can be the area between agricultural fields and a forest.
  • The characteristics of Ecotone are transitional to the neighboring ecosystems.
  • Here, the number of species or their population density of them can be significantly higher than in either ecosystem. This is known as the edge effect.

Importance of Ecotone

The Ecotone contains a wide range of species and a greater variety of organisms. It offers a nesting place for animals. It works like a bridge between two different populations because of the larger genetic diversity. Ecotones can also work like buffer zones that offer protection to the ecosystems from possible damage.

For example, Wetlands can absorb pollutants. Ecotones tell about global climate change. Nowadays, scientists are taking an interest in studying Ecotones so that they can learn about the shifting boundaries between the ecosystems.

Ecotone UPSC

The Environment Syllabus for UPSC explicitly mentions the Ecotone topic and it holds extreme importance in the Civil Services Exam. By comprehending the ecological dynamics of these transitional zones, aspirants can gain insights into the intricate interconnections between various ecosystems and their impact on biodiversity, climate change, and sustainable development.

Moreover, exploring the ecotone topic equips candidates with a holistic understanding of environmental issues, which is crucial for formulating effective policies and strategies to mitigate ecological challenges. That’s why this topic needs to be covered comprehensively with the help of the best Environment UPSC Books and notes.

Ecotone MCQs

Question: What is an ecotone? a) A region with extreme climatic conditions b) A transition zone between two distinct ecosystems c) A protected area for wildlife conservation d) An area with high biodiversity

Answer: b) A transition zone between two distinct ecosystems

Question: Which of the following is a characteristic of ecotones? a) Uniform plant and animal species b) Homogeneous environmental conditions c) High species diversity and ecological interactions d) Absence of human activities

Answer: c) High species diversity and ecological interactions

Question: Ecotones are important because they: a) Act as barriers to prevent species migration b) Provide homogeneous habitats for specialized species c) Support unique species found nowhere else d) Facilitate species movement and promote biodiversity

Answer: d) Facilitate species movement and promote biodiversity

UPSC Notes
Citizenship Amendment Act Non-Proliferation Treaty
Black Money Later Vedic Period
Ecotone Social Movements In India
Sarvodaya Movement Digital Education In India
Dutch Colonies in India Amrut Scheme
Bardoli Satyagraha Delimitation Commission
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