Biotope

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Biotope is an area of uniform environmental conditions providing a living place for a specific assemblage of plants and animals. Biotope is almost synonymous with the term habitat, but while the subject of a habitat is a species or a population, the subject of a biotope is a biological community.[1]

It is an English loanword derived from the German "Biotop", which in turn came from the Greek bios='life' or 'organism' and topos='place'. (The related word geotope has made its way into the English language by the same route, from the German "Geotop".) The word biotope, literally translated, means an area where life lives.

Nowadays, its original meaning as an ecological space itself is less emphasised and the term is more widely known as a touchstone word in the preservation of the environment. Some people delineate and advocate "Healing Biotopes" as “self-sufficient future communities. Dieter Duhm’s book "The Sacred Matrix" (2006) describes biotopes as: “greenhouses of trust” and “acupuncture points of peace”. [2] This author has worked with people to construct a biotope prototype in Portugal. Duhm and others offer theories and practices for developing peace villages and global healing. [3]

Contents

Ecology

The concept of a biotope was first advocated by Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919): a German zoologist famous for the recapitulation theory. In his book General Morphology (1866), which defines the term "ecology", he stresses the importance of the concept of habitat as a prerequisite for an organism's existence. Heackel also explains that with one ecosystem, its biota is shaped by environmental factors (such as water, soil, and geographical features) and interaction among living things; the original idea of a biotope was closely related to evolutional theory. Following this, F. Dahl, a professor at the Berlin Zoological Museum, referred to this ecological system as a "biotope" (biotop) (1908).[4]

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