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How do ecosystems respond to natural disasters such as fires and floods?

Last updated date: 13th Jun 2024
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Hint: The many diverse habitats on our planet are all affected by earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and natural bush fires. Initially, biodiversity is adversely impacted by these disasters. However, many forms of natural disasters play an integral role over time in rejuvenating the very ecosystem they once destroyed.

Complete answer:
The response of an ecosystem will depend on the ecosystem, as each ecosystem will react differently, as well as on the degree and severity of the natural disaster.
While natural disasters may tend to be negative forces for humans, there are some ecosystems where the disaster is actually crucial to an ecosystem. Lodgepole pines, for example, need fires to replicate. Their cones do not open and release seeds without the high temperatures found in fires.
Flooding is another case. Some species can be harmed by floods, but others depend on occasional floods. Red river gums, a type of eucalyptus tree, for instance, need periodic floods. It is well suited to periods of low availability of water, but every now and then these trees require a flood to saturate the clay they are rooted in.
In other cases, a hurricane can uproot trees and other plants with winds that are very strong. This will affect all other species that will depend on these trees and plants for their survival (whether they depend on them for shelter or food or some other reason).
The community would also go through ecological succession after a natural disaster and return to the state it was prior to the disaster. As natural disasters have occurred on earth for a long time, balanced habitats will bounce back.
Therefore, some habitats may be seriously affected by natural disasters, but other species may benefit, and some species and ecosystems are dependent on these natural disasters. In the long term, healthy ecosystems are adapted to survive natural disasters.

Natural catastrophes are caused for various causes, such as soil erosion, volcanic activity, tectonic changes, air pressure, ocean currents, etc. The key causes for these disasters are natural activities happening in the earth's crust, as well as on the soil.