Major goals of ecosystem research are the description of structures and fonctions and the understanding of the mechanisms controlling the dynamics, so that predictions can be made of the behaviour of ecosystems if input conditions or internai parameters are modified. Figure 1 shows that interactions of different kinds of fluxes and different kinds of functional groups of organisms occur in ecosystems, which makes their performance unique, but their analysis difficult. Using this diagram we will try to synthe- size the problems of the time scale of processes, of spatial boundaries of the system, and of biotic interactions within the system which have been discussed from various points of view in the previous chapters.
KeywordsSoil Solution Terrestrial Ecosystem Geological Substrate Geochemical Cycle Plant Life Form
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