Ecosystem Analysis

  • Gene E. Likens


An ecological system has a richly detailed series of inputs and outputs of energy and matter. Because of the lack of precise information about these relationships and the internal functions that maintain the ecosystem, it is often difficult to assess the impact of human activities on the biosphere. As a result, land-use managers and planners often cannot take into account or even foresee the full range of consequences a project may have. Without full information, the traditional practice in the management of land resources has been to emphasize strategies that maximize the output of some desirable product or service and give little or no thought to the long-term secondary effects. As a result often there is much conflict between conservation and management goals. For example, in an all-out effort to increase food production, drainage waters carry large burdens of pollutants from fertilizers, pesticides, and farm wastes. Forests may be cut with inadequate perception of the effects on regional water supplies, wildlife, recreation, and aesthetic values. And despite recent regulations to protect wetlands, they have been converted worldwide to commercial use with little concern over important hydrologic, biodiversity, esthetic, and commercial values lost in the conversion.


Dead Organic Matter Meteorologic Input Soil Frost Experimental Watershed Regional Water Supply 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gene E. Likens
    • 1
  1. 1.Cary Institute of Ecosystem StudiesMillbrookUSA

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