Evolutionary Role of Indirect Effects

It has been postulated by a number of authors, and has been proved mathematically by Fath and Patten, that indirect effects often promote coexistence and the role of indirect effects should, in general, increase in the course of evolution. For example, in grassland communities containing Rumex spp., insect herbivory (by Gastrophysa viridula) appears to be a cost inherent in the development of plants' resistance to pathogenic fungi (Uromyces rumicus). Another example relates to the fact that infection of plants with endophytic fungi often enhances plants' competitive abilities via deterring grazers by production of toxic compounds (as a result, some plants might have coevolved together with their endo-phytes, for example, coupled evolution of Festuca and Acremonium spp.).

It should be noted, that indirect effects are important for the evolution of not only natural, but also industrial ecosystems. Traditionally, human society has developed without the necessary due respect to the rules and processes governing the stability of its environment. However, by analogy with natural ecosystems (i.e., as regards recycling and cascading networks) industrial ecosystems should aim to facilitate the development of recycling and cascading cooperative systems by minimizing the energy consumption, generation of wastes, emissions, and input of raw materials.

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