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From eco- +‎ system. Coined by English botanist Arthur Tansley in 1935 in a paper titled "The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts" in the journal Ecology.[1]



ecosystem (plural ecosystems)

  1. A system formed by an ecological community and its environment that functions as a unit.
    • 2012 January 1, Donald Worster, “A Drier and Hotter Future”, in American Scientist[2], volume 100, number 1, page 70:
      Phoenix and Lubbock are both caught in severe drought, and it is going to get much worse. We may see many such [dust] storms in the decades ahead, along with species extinctions, radical disturbance of ecosystems, and intensified social conflict over land and water. Welcome to the Anthropocene, the epoch when humans have become a major geological and climatic force.
  2. The interconnectedness of organisms (plants, animals, microbes) with each other and their environment.
  3. (business, marketing) A set of interconnected products and services.
  4. (India, Indian politics, Internet slang) A community of social media users who support a certain ideology.
    • 2022, Rahul Shivshankar, Times of India[3]
      It (The Kashmir Files) is being described by the leftist “liberal” ecosystem as a movie that peddles bigotry against Muslims.
    • 2022, Angshuman Choudhury, Suraj Gogoi,[4]
      There is a certain duality in how the Hindutva ecosystem is pushing the anti-hijab discourse into the mainstream.


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  1. ^ Arthur Tansley (July 1935), “The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts”, in Ecology[1] (in English), volume 16, issue 3, archived from the original on 2016-10-06:
    Our natural prejudices force us to consider the organisms (in the sense of the biologist) as the most important parts of these systems, but certainly the inorganic “factors” are also parts – there could be no systems without them, and there is constant interchange of the most various kinds within each system, not only between the organisms but between the organic and the inorganic. These ecosystems, as we may call them, are of the most various kinds and sizes.