A discussion of the general concepts of ecology and attempting to specify their physical sense are a priori ungrateful tasks. In ecology, as in any natural science, notions or definitions had a quite uncertain content at the time of their introduction and they determine an approach to studies rather than their object. Later, these notions and definitions were redetermined many times and differently by different researchers. The multidimensional subject of ecology stipulates such an uncertainty. The uncertainty causes periodically renewed discussions of the theoretical bases of science that are inevitable in formulating the concept of biogeocoenosis. The latter may be considered as a specific one in relation to a more general concept of an ecosystem. In the framework of the modern theory of thermodynamics and nonlinear dynamical systems, accepting the existence of self-similar quasi-discrete territorial units, the concept of biogeocoe-nosis is interpreted via living matter as a thermodynamic variable. On the other hand, the ideas of the dynamics of biogeocoenosis elaborated by Sukachev represent good bases to formulate verifiable hypotheses. They allow combining the concepts of reductionism and holism as interconnected (but not contradictory) models, the contribution of which to the spatial-temporal dynamics depends on geographic conditions, the current status, and the time of self-development.

See also: Iron Cycle.

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