The term ecotone means, in ecology, a transitional environment, natural or man-made, interposed between two or more different biological communities (associations). In the ecotone there is generally a greater biodiversity than in other neighboring environments.
The term ecotone comes from the English ecotone, a composition of eco (logy) ‘ecology’ and -tone ‘-tone’.
The importance of the ecotone is due to the fact that it generally has greater biodiversity and richness than the homogeneous areas it separates.
In fact, ecotones contain species typical of neighboring communities and exclusive species of the ecotonal area itself, and therefore possess a high biodiversity and richness.
These peculiarities make the ecotone indispensable because it is through these structures that the connection between very different environments takes place (woods-meadows, lakes-forests, fresh water-salt water).
Ecotones can be produced and maintained both by spontaneous and anthropic processes, they can vary from each other in shape, size, heterogeneity and density, but above all for their biological diversity. It is this last characteristic that influences the number of links in the food chain: the presence of a greater number of different species favors the exchange of energy flows and in general a high stability of the ecosystem.