0.580 (0.90 X 0.65)
increases in the course of an ecological development because an ecosystem encompasses an integration of all the modifications that are imposed on the environment.
Thus, it is in the background of genetic information that systems develop which allows interaction of information with the environment. Herein lies the importance in the feedback organism-environment, which means that an organism can only evolve in an evolving environment. The differences between the two stages include entropy and exergy. This latter concept will be discussed later in Chapters 4 and 5.
The conservation laws of energy and matter set limits to the further development of "pure" energy and matter, while information may be amplified (almost) without limit. These limitations lead to the concept of limiting factors that is playing a significant role in ecology, including systems ecology. Patten et al. (1997) have speculated how a world without the conservation principles would look. Things would behave erratically. Something could arise from nothing. Mathematical counting would be meaningless. They conclude that, if there is a scientific law more fundamental than the rest, it is probably the conservation principles of matter, energy, momentum and electrical charge.
A major design principle observed in natural systems is the feedback of energy from storages to stimulate the inflow pathways as a reward from receiver storage to the inflow source (Odum, 1971a,b). By this feature, the flow values developed reinforce the processes
Differences between initial stage and mature stage are indicated
Properties Early stage Late or mature stage
Specific entropy High
Entropy production per unit of time Low
Total biomass Small
Inorganic nutrients Extrabiotic
Diversity, ecological Low
Diversity, biological Low
Patterns Poorly organised
Niche specialisation Broad
Size of organisms Small
Life cycles Simple
Mineral cycles Open
Nutrient exchange rate Fast
Life span Short
Selection and homeostatis
Internal symbiosis Undeveloped
Stability (resistance to external perturbations) Poor
Ecological buffer capacity Low
Feedback control Poor
Growth form Fast growth
Close to 1
Large Intrabiotic High High
Feedback controlled growth K-strategists that are doing useful work. In other words, feedback allows the circuit to learn. A wider use of the cosystem's self-organisation ability in environmental, or rather ecological, management has been proposed by Odum (1988).
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