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A biological community of living organisms and their physical environment, functioning as an ‘ecological unit’. Examples of ecosystems include ponds, grasslands, deserts, rainforests, and estuaries. The study of ecosystems mainly focuses on the interactions between the living members, and the processes that link the non-biological constituents to the biological constituents – in other words, how the system functions as a whole. Over the years, the study of ecosystems has become very instrumental in assessing and controlling the environmental effects of agricultural development and industrialization.

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