This volume has two first authors because it is a result of very intensive teamwork between the two authors. We have had three brainstorm meetings, each of approximately one week's duration. There have been numerous ping-pong games (questions-answers-new proposals etc.) on the Internet. All the chapters have major contributions from both of us. We hope that the volume therefore demonstrates a synergistic effect, reflecting the positive teamwork that is behind the volume. The teamwork has been particularly fruitful because we have different scientific backgrounds, but still have ecological modelling and thermodynamics as a common platform. Sven Erik J0rgensen has, in addition to modelling and thermodynamics, a background in chemistry and biology (mainly system ecology), while Yuri M. Svirezhev is a passionate mathematician, who has used his mathematics during almost his entire career on biological-ecological problems. He has been able to present many of Sven Erik J0rgensen's previously published ideas with the right mathematical elegance, but there are also a lot of new ideas that are a result of the teamwork and the brain storming meetings. In turn, many concepts of mathematical ecology developed by Yuri Svirezhev are considered in the book from the new, thermodynamic point of view.

The application of thermodynamics on biological systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium is not new. It is possible to find numerous references on this topic in the past with Ostwald's, Bauer's and Prigogine's contributions as maybe the most important. Over the last three decades, many new and original contributions have been added to the previous theory, and we believe that today we have a solid and applicable theory of ecological systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium that is sufficiently developed to explain ecological observations (see the final chapter). We have built the presented theory very much on our own work using exergy as a core thermodynamic variable. We have, however, also touched on other approaches presenting the research from the last three decades in system ecology (for instance, the work of H.T. Odum, B.C. Patten, R. Ulanowicz, E. Tiezzi and F. Muller). Ecosystems are extremely complex systems, and it is therefore not surprising that the various approaches are to a large extent xiv

Preface complementary. Presentation of a consistent and comprehensive theory is, however, facilitated by the application of one approach with which you are familiar. Therefore, the application of exergy to explain the ecosystem reactions and processes is the core theme. In addition, we believe that a consistent and comprehensive theory cannot be developed, at least not today, without thermodynamics. We hope, however, whatever background you may have as reader of this book, and whatever ecosystem approach you prefer, that you do agree: we have an ecosystem theory and we should use it much more widely in ecology. The application of thermodynamics on ecosystems requires a heavy use of mathematics; but to emphasise the application of the theory to understand ecosystems and to explain ecological observations, we have included an ecosystem theoretical summary in most chapters. We have here presented the implications of the theory of particular interest in system ecology.

Behind the presented theory are many important contributions from other scientists with whom we have cooperated for a shorter or longer time. They have inspired us by their thoughts, not only the thoughts resulting in joint publications, but also the many thoughts that have been "hanging in the air" at a brain storming. We would like to express our appreciation to all of them: Vyacheslav Alexeev, Brian Fath, Niels Ladegaard, Joao Marques, Henning Mejer, Felix Muller, S0ren Nors Nielsen, Bernard C. Patten, Vladimir Petukhov, Vicente Santiago, Wolf Steinborn, Alexey Voinov, Maciej Zalewski, Nikolai Zavalishin and J. Zhang.

We are also grateful to Valentina Krysanova, Valery Pomaz, Alison Schlums, Stephen Sitch and Anastasia Svirejeva-Hopkins for their help in the preparation and editing of our manuscript.

Finally, we are very grateful to H.-J. Schellnhuber, the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who has provided Potsdam's player in our team with the perfect conditions for working on this book.

Sven Erik J0rgensen and Yuri M. Svirezhev, Copenhagen and Potsdam, September 2003.

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