Whereas biotic integrity is concerned with the populations and species and the interactions between them, ecosystem integrity also considers the relationships between these organisms and the surrounding environment. Ecosystem integrity is similar to the organizational and functional aspects of ecosystem diversity discussed above. As with biotic integrity, ecosystem integrity may be used to compare the condition of an ecosystem that has been changed in some way with a former condition. For example, the reintroduction of beavers to an area from which they had previously been extirpated represents an increase in the species diversity of that region. However, if the beavers had been absent for a very long time, then the local hydrology and associated flora and fauna might have changed to a condition quite different from that when the beavers were previously present. Therefore, unless carefully managed, the reintroduction of the beavers could represent a disruption to the integrity of these ecosystems.
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