Ecosystem Analysis: Combination of Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches

  • François Bourlière
  • Malcolm Hadley
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 1)

Abstract

A central issue in the study of the ecosystem’s structure and functioning is the analysis of the processes governing the production of organic matter, the flow of energy and the cycling of nutrient resources. To achieve these goals for ecosystems in different climatic regions, and to describe and compare the efficiency of various plant and animal communities under different environmental conditions, is a formidable task. The intention of the following remarks is to present a number of factors which must be considered in ecosystem analysis if studies on energy flow and organic production are to be meaningful. The relationships between plant and animal populations, and between these populations and the abiotic environment, are so complex that much of our knowledge of these relationships is still of a purely qualitative nature. One of the goals of ecologists is to find ways of quantifying these relationships. The problems involved in this task are immense, but we must take encouragement from the words of Macfadyen (1967) who writes, “... the theme of energy flow study has allowed us to quantify certain aspects of community functioning which only twenty-five years ago were subject to no more than descriptive generalization”.

Keywords

Biomass Sugar Migration Europe Income 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • François Bourlière
  • Malcolm Hadley

There are no affiliations available

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