The Maintenance of Patchiness Inside a Mosaic

Patchiness is a patterned character of a mosaic and is represented by the juxtaposition of patches of different types. A patch is a discrete element of the mosaic (the unit of a mosaic), and it is created and maintained by internal as well as external constraints. The internal constraints that we call centripetal processes act to incorporate energy, matter, and organisms from the outside against the gradient. In this way a patch is like a biological cell with a homeostatic capacity to isolate from the external environment. The internal processes need energy to use neg-entropy and produce a catabolism that can be beneficial for neighboring patches.

Coupled with this centripetal process, a centrifugal process moves energy, matter, and organisms in the opposite direction as the product of the patch dynamic. In this way, seeds, young animals, and nutrients flow out from the source, dispersing in the outside environment.

We can imagine a patch in a status of pulsing during which at each contraction or release an active circulation of energy, matter, and organisms is carried out in both directions. A patch can be considered an importer, but also an exporter, and this activity of import/export assures dynamism to the entire system of which a patch is part. At the border of each patch, ecotones create a border like a cellular membrane.

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