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Submitted by bpmccarthy on Thu, 11/14/2019 - 21:16

Decomposition is an important part of the cycle of nutrients through an ecosystem. Decomposition is the break down of dead organic matter by bacteria and fungi, which take dead organic matter and break it down into smaller components that can be deposited back into the environment to be used by other organisms. Like many other natural processes, humans have tampered with decomposition. For one, the traditional contemporary burial methods involving filling the body with preservatives like formaldehyde slow down the process. Processes like cremation completely remove returning the organic matter to the Earth from the equation. Aside from dealing with their own dead, humans shape their environment all the time. An example of this is in the fall in colder regions, where leaves fall off of the trees. A common practice that most people adhere to is raking leaves and removing them from the yard. This doesn't allow for the leaves to be broken down by bacteria/fungi and their nutrients aren't returned to where they came from. This potentially can kill the grass in your lawn and have other detrimental effects on the local ecosystem.