Ecology: The relationships of organisms to one another and their surroundings.
When ecology is taught in class, examples of ecosystems like corals reefs and marshes are usually given. One thing is often left unconsidered, that like all species, we participate in ecology. Humans interact with one another and their environment on a daily basis.
Humans are an extreme representative of a generalist species. We can survive and adapt to most of Earth's climates with little negative impact. The ecology we take part in has a small direct effect on us, and it is therefore often overlooked.
What is extremely important to consider is our effect on more specialized species. The entire biosphere (Earth) is interconnected. For example, foxes that live in the underbrush of this forest could be affected by human actions.
Conclusion: We Affect Ecology!
If the forest is cleared to create a field in which to grow crops, the fox population could be affected. If the ecosystem is changed a point where it is outside the foxes tolerance curve, the fox population would decrease.
If the foxes are no longer able to fulfill their niche (a small part of which is eating mice), the population of mice would grow. In turn, organisms affected by mice would then change as well.
Through one action, humans were able to affect a population, which then affected a community, and eventually an entire ecosystem. No matter the time or place, humans play a very significant role in ecology and the condition of the world that surrounds us.