What is an ecosystem?

An ecosystem refers to a community of living organisms (like plants, animal2017 Nature Photos from Genevieve S (22)s, and insects) and their interactions between each other and the physical environment around them.

Ecosystems are diverse, and unique. Their combinations of plants, animals and their physical environment defines the beauty and richness of the natural world. Maintaining this natural diversity is key to preventing species extinctions and is a critical aspect of maintaining natural resilience into the future. 

Ecosystems in the Cowichan Valley

The Cowichan region contains a range of rare and sensitive ecosystems that have very high ecological and social values. Ecosystems in our region can be categorized into three main groups: terrestrial, marine, and freshwater. 

  1. Terrestrial Ecosystems
  2. Marine Ecosystems
  3. Freshwater Ecosystems

Forest Cropped 4 x 6 A terrestrial ecosystem is a land-based community of organisms and the interaction of biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) components in a given area. Examples of terrestrial ecosystems are grasslands, tropical rainforests, deserts and the tundra.

For additional information please see the National Geographic Society's page on terrestrial ecosystems.