An ecosystem is the relationship established between the organisms inhabiting a physical component known as a biotope (biocenosis). In our case, the biocenosis of a vertical ecosystem is made up of plants, fungi, bacteria and animals interacting with the substrate that we build for their development – our artificial biotope.
The physical-chemical characteristics of the medium are some of the key abiotic factors that influence vertical ecosystems, i.e. the substrate and its environmental conditions. Climatic factors; light, temperature and humidity can be controlled to a certain extent in an interior vertical ecosystem. Exterior systems, however, depend on the area’s natural elements, our measurement and knowledge of plant behaviour relating to the species included in the biotope.
Hydrological factors such as pH, water conductance, dissolved gasses, salinity, etc. are controlled by sensors that notify us of any imbalances in the ecosystem. We also select and manage texture, porosity and substrate depth, which would be edaphic factors in a natural ecosystem. However, this process involves a flow of energy that prompts species succession in every vertical-ecosystem until it reaches a climax point where the factors described previously naturally modify the evolution of the vertical-ecosystem. The success of a vertical-ecosystem will depend on the monitoring and management of abiotic and biotic factors, which limit the increase in plant populations. In short, we control what is known as environmental resistance.
In our vertical-ecosystems, we encourage the use of plant, fungi and bacteria species in an environment that has almost unlimited resources. This allows us to create a slow growth to start with, which becomes exponential until we achieve the maximal load, known as carrying capacity. This is the optimum population size that can interact without stress in a limited space, seeking the mutualisms and interspecific/intraspecific associations that will benefit all life present.
Vertical-ecosystems are dynamic: nature transforms – sometimes abruptly, sometimes gradually. It may be that elevated distress temporarily interrupts the balance, but proper management will allow the ecosystem to recover. The difference between collapse and slow recovery depends on one’s vision and understanding of the problem. However, we must always take into account the primordial premise: we are working with living creatures in a wonderful network of multiple relationships, which we define as a vertical-ecosystem.