Regarding ecosystems as entities of complex processes and interactions, varying strategies and processes are related to altering system's conditions caused by human activities or different stages of natural development.
One functional way to assess the health ofecosystems is to measure or model indicators that represent important processes in the ecosystem from which conclusions for the whole system can be drawn. Primary production or growth rates are among the most commonly used indicators. The cycling of matter, water, or energy between the different components of a system and the transformation of matter, water, or energy into different forms are main processes in natural systems. Examples are cycling of nitrogen or phosphorus, the fixation of energy by plant photosynthesis or the water cycle based on precipitation, runoff, and evapotranspiration.
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