Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Ecosystems, Stable and Sustainable

  • Colin D. ButlerEmail author
  • Colin L. Soskolne
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_1394-2



  • Ecosystems: Basic units of nature within which living organisms continually interact with non-life forms, whose boundaries are arbitrary, and which exist in “dynamic equilibrium.”

  • Ecosystem services: A way of thinking about the benefits provided to humans and other species by nature; examples range from obvious (oxygen, food, water) to subtle (regulation of the carbon cycle) and psychological (aesthetic beauty). Sometimes called “nature’s services.”

  • Biodiversity: Abundance of biological variety.

  • EcoHealth: A term that indicates linkages between human and ecological well-being.

  • Sustainability: A debate exists concerning the definition of “sustainability” (or its earlier formulation “permanence”). One pole is anthropocentric (humans first), the other is biocentric (life in its basic form first). A formulation that many would consider anthropocentric is “capacity to meet long-term human needs enduring over many generations.” In...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Berkes, F., Kislalioglu, M., Folke, C., & Gadgil, M. (1998). Exploring the basic ecological unit: Ecosystem-like concepts in traditional societies. Ecosystems, 1, 409–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Buck, S. J. (1985). No tragedy on the commons. Environmental Ethics, 7(Spring), 49–61.Google Scholar
  3. Butler, C. D. (2008). Human health and forests: An overview. In C. J. P. Colfer (Ed.), Human health and forests: A global overview of issues, practice and policy (pp. 13–33). London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  4. Chivian, E., & Bernstein, A. (Eds.). (2008). Sustaining life. How human health depends on biodiversity. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Daly, H. (1996). Beyond growth. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  6. Danielsen, F., Beukema, H., Burgess, N. D., Parish, F., Brühl, C. A., Donald, P. F., et al. (2008). Biofuel plantations on forested lands: Double jeopardy for biodiversity and climate. Conservation Biology, 23(2), 348–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fauth, J. E. (1997). Working toward operational definitions in ecology: Putting the system back into ecosystem. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 78(4), 295–297.Google Scholar
  8. Gillson, L. (2006). A “large infrequent disturbance” in an East African savanna. African Journal of Ecology 44, 458–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Keesing, F., Belden, L. K., Daszak, P., Dobson, A., Harvell, C. D., Holt, R. D., et al. (2010). Impacts of biodiversity on the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases. Nature, 468, 647–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Leopold, A. (1949). A sand country almanac. With essays on conservation from Round River. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Louv, R. (2008). Last child in the woods. New York: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.Google Scholar
  12. Lovelock, J. (2009). The vanishing face of Gaia, a final warning. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  13. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. (2003). Ecosystems and human well-being. A framework for assessment. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  14. Ramakrishnan, P., Saxena, K., & Chandrashekara, U. (1998). Conserving the sacred: For biodiversity management. New Delhi/Oxford: UNESCO/IBH.Google Scholar
  15. Soskolne, C. L., Westra, L., Kotzé, L., Mackey, B., Rees, W., & Westra, R. R. (Eds.). (2008). Sustaining life on earth. Environmental and human health through global governance. Lanham: Lexington Books, a Division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Tansley, A. (1935). The use and abuse of vegetational concepts and terms. Ecology, 16, 284–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wilcox, B. A., Aguirre, A. A., & Horwitz, P. (2011). EcoHealth: Connecting ecology, health and sustainability. In A. A. Aguirre, R. Ostfeld, et al. (Eds.), Conservation medicine (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Wilson, E. O. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of HealthUniversity of CanberraCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Public Health Services, School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • J. Rick Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical Communications, QuintilesDurhamUSA