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Title A Hierarchical concept of ecosystems / R.V. O'Neill ... [and others].

Published Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, [1986]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM BioMed ST  574.5 HIER    AVAILABLE
Physical description vii, 253 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Series Monographs in population biology ; 23.
Monographs in population biology ; 23.
Notes Includes indexes.
Bibliography Bibliography: pages 213-246.
Contents Part I. Concept of an Ecosystem 1 -- 1. Fundamental Ambiguities in the Ecosystem Concept 3 -- 2. A Historical Perspective on How Ecologists Have Viewed Ecosystems 20 -- 3. Ecosystem as a System 37 -- 4. Concept of Hierarchy and Its Typical Application 55 -- Part III. A Proposal for a Theory 73 -- 5. Some Elements of Hierarchy Theory 75 -- 6. Hierarchical Structure as the Consequence of Evolution in Open, Dissipative Systems 101 -- Part IV. Applications of the Theory to Ecological Systems 123 -- 7. Ecosystems as Hierarchies of Species 125 -- 8. Ecosystems as Hierarchies of Processes 159 -- 9. Ecosystems as Dual Hierarchies 186.
Summary "Ecosystem" is an intuitively appealing concept to most ecologists, but, in spite of its widespread use, the term remains diffuse and ambiguous. The authors of this book argue that previous attempts to define the concept have been derived from particular viewpoints to the exclusion of others equally possible. They offer instead a more general line of thought based on hierarchy theory. Their contribution should help to counteract the present separation of subdisciplines in ecology and to bring functional and population/community ecologists closer to a common approach.
Developed as a way of understanding highly complex organized systems, hierarchy theory has at its center the idea that organization results from differences in process rates. To the authors the theory suggests an objective way of decomposing ecosystems into their component parts. The results thus obtained offer a rewarding method for integrating various schools of ecology.
Other author O'Neill, R. V. (Robert V.), 1940-
Subject Ecology.
Biotic communities.
ISBN 069108436X (alk. paper)
0691084378 (paperback)