Toward a Consistent Pattern of Ecosystem Theories
Several ecosystem theories have been presented during the last 2–3 decades. Lately it has been possible to unite these theories into a consistent pattern. Intensive discussions at meetings have been the key to the formation of this pattern of ecosystem theories. Another driving factor has been the reformulation of E.P. Odum’s attributes1 into three growth forms: growth of the physical structure (the biomass), growth of the network (more cycling, more linkages), and growth of information. An analysis of the growth forms2 shows that through-flow (power), ascendancy, and exergy storage are all increasing as a consequence of all three types of growth. However, exergy dissipation, entropy production, specific exergy (exergy/biomass), retention time, and the ratio indirect/direct effect only increases or decreases with one or two of the growth forms.