What is the ecotone and edge effect?

By Ritesh|Updated : September 5th, 2022

An ecotone is a zone where an ecosystem (or community) rapidly shifts from one to the other. The edge effect is a phenomenon along the ecotones, with higher density and biodiversity due to the more varied ecosystem traits, diverse vegetation, and the number of landscape aspects.

Ecotone and Edge Effect - Characteristics

Ecotone characteristics:

  • It could be broad or thin.
  • It is a high-tension area (as it has conditions intermediate to the bordering ecosystems).
  • It might have species wholly distinct from those in the neighboring systems.
  • Both natural and artificial ecotones exist.
  • For instance, a man-made ecotone exists between an agricultural field and a forest.

Ecotone's importance:

  • They have a more comprehensive range of living things.
  • They also provide an excellent nesting location for animals who come looking for a place to nest or food.
  • Due to the higher genetic diversity, they act as a bridge for gene flow between populations.
  • They can serve as a buffer zone, protecting nearby ecosystems from potential harm.
  • A wetland, for instance, can trap pollutants and keep them from leaking into rivers.
  • Ecotones are another sensitive indicator of climate change on a global scale.
  • The shifting of ecosystem boundaries is assumed to result from climate change.
  • Thus, ecotones are the subject of increased research among scientists and environmentalists.

Summary:

What is the ecotone and edge effect?

A zone where an ecosystem (or community) abruptly changes from one to the other is known as an ecotone. Due to the more diversified ecological characteristics, diverse vegetation, and quantity of landscape elements, there is a higher density and biodiversity along the ecotones. This phenomenon is known as the edge effect.

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