Ecosystem functioning

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  • Why did I decide to write this book? As an undergraduate student I could not make up my mind whether I wanted to be a zoologist or a botanist, so I decided to adopt ecology, in its broadest sense, as my area of interest. This led me to think about interactions among organisms and to try to look at ecosystems from a holistic, rather than from an autecological, point of view. As someone with little formal training in mycology, my interest in fungi started during my doctoral research, especially when attending university-wide lectures by C. T. Ingold, given at the University of London.

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  • Human activities are affecting the global environment in myriad ways, with numerous direct and indirect effects on ecosystems. The climate and atmospheric composition of Earth are changing rapidly. Humans have directly modified half of the ice-free terrestrial surface and use 40% of terrestrial production. Our actions are causing the sixth major extinction event in the history of life on Earth and are radically modifying the interactions among forests, fields, streams, and oceans.

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  • Foreword for Cary Conference X, “Ecosystem Function in Heterogeneous Landscapes.” Among the most difficult problems in the life sciences is the challenge to understand the details of how ecosystems/watersheds/landscapes function. Yet, the welfare of all life, not just the human species, depends upon the successful functioning of diverse and complicated ecosystems, each with various dimensions and compositions.

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  • This report is a product of the Panel to Review the Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative—a panel organized by the National Research Council (NRC) in response to congressional concerns that the restoration of the greater Everglades ecosystem be supported by the best possible science. The Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative (CESI) has been the primary investment by the U.S. Department of the Interior to provide scientific information to advise restoration decision-making and to guide its own land management responsibilities for South Florida ecosystem restoration.

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  • Tuyển tập các báo cáo nghiên cứu về lâm nghiệp được đăng trên tạp chí lâm nghiệp quốc tế, đề tài: "Local variations of ecosystem functions in Mediterranean evergreen oak woodland...

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  • Compared to other ecosystems, wetlands have received an exceptional amount of attention. Wetlands are valuable as sources, sink and transformers of a multitude of chemical, biological and genetic materials. They stabilize water supplies, clean polluted waters, protect shorelines, and recharge groundwater aquifers. They have increasingly become recognized for their unique ecological functions in the environment and are the focus of increased research by scientists and study programs by schools, communities, and nature centers.

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  • Ecosystems provide a wide variety of marketable goods, fish and lumber being two familiar examples. However, society is increasingly recognizing the myriad functions—the observable manifestations of ecosystem processes such as nutrient recycling, regulation of climate, and maintenance of biodiversity— that they provide, without which human civilizations could not thrive. Derived from the physical, biological, and chemical processes at work in natural ecosystems, these functions are seldom experienced directly by users of the resource.

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  • This collection of papers reflects the diversity of concepts, methods, and case studies that address the challenge of Managing for Healthy Ecosystems as holistic environmental management in the context of health, integrity, and sustainability. Ecosystem health embodies the capacity of ecosystems to function without impairment, while management concerns the assessment of ecosystem conditions relative to social goals and adoption of interventions to achieve designated goals.

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  • The last few years have witnessed tremendous changes in the syllabi of environmentally related courses at Advanced Level and in tertiary education. Moreover, there have been major alterations in the way degree and diploma courses are organised in colleges and universities. Syllabus changes reflect the increasing interest in environmental issues, their significance in a political context and their increasing relevance in everyday life.

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  • Large herbivores are, and have for a long time been, among the major drivers for forming the shape and function of terrestrial ecosystems. These animals may modify primary production, nutrient cycles, soil properties, fire regimes as well as other biota. Some large herbivore species/populations are at the edge of extinction and great effort is being made to save them. Other species/populations are under discussion for reintroduction. Still other species occur in dense populations and cause conflicts with other land use interests.

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  • Over the past 25 years the discipline of ecotoxicology has undergone two major developments. Firstly, new assays have been developed, deploying organisms that bear added relevance to the specific environment under investigation. Several new procedures assess the effects on organisms after exposure to environmental samples rather than to spiked water or sediment samples. Also noteworthy is the considerable attention given to effects of chronic exposure to low levels of contaminants.

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  • This book is about the distribution and abundance of different types of organism, and about the physical, chemical but especially the biological features and interactions that determine these distributions and abundances. Unlike some other sciences, the subject matter of ecology is apparent to everybody: most people have observed and pondered nature, and in this sense most people are ecologists of sorts. But ecology is not an easy science.

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  • From the early explorers onwards, visitors to the Arctic and to Antarctica have commented with great interest on the presence of lakes, wetlands, and fl owing waters. These environments encompass a spectacular range of conditions for aquatic life, from dilute surface melt ponds, to deep, highly stratifi ed, hypersaline lakes.

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  • The Mangalore coast which is situated at the western part of the Indian peninsula stretching to about 22 Kms of Coastal district of Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka. The healthy condition of the aquatic system depends upon its physical, chemical and biological characteristics which actually fluctuate with season and degree of pollution. Marine ecosystem is one of the richest ecosystems (Cairns & Dickson, 1971). Industrialisation, development activities in coastal zones have placed enormous stress on habitats.

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  • The need to account for natural resources as capital, in the same way as we account for economic and financial resources, is getting more and more attention. The recently published EU Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe sets the policy framework for action in the coming years and decades for which robust data and indicators are needed. In this respect, there is a contrast between the natural resources which are recorded by the System of National Accounts 2008, the basis for GDP, and other natural resources which are ignored because they are not seen as economic assets by the market.

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  • Importance of Coral Reefs: 0.2% of world’s ocean. Habitat for 1/3 of marine fishes. Habitat for tens of thousands of other animals. The rainforests of the oceans. Destruction of other ecosystems upon which coral reefs depend. Possible disruption of reproduction and recruitment.

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  • Today, the world faces many problems. The most important problem is the population explosion. The population of 2.8 billion around 1945 doubled during the following 50 years, and it will approximately double again, reaching 10 billion during the next 50 years. This population increase will produce serious effects on worldwide food consumption and distribution; however, a sharp production increase in agricultural products cannot be expected.

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  • Diversity of plant form and life history and their distribution onto different habitats suggest that plant functions should underlie this diversity, providing tools to successfully and differentially thrive in every habitat. The knowledge of these functions is then the key to understand community and ecosystem structure and functioning, something that attracted the interest and effort of many plant ecologists trying to establish patterns of adaptive specialization in plants.

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  • The concept of forest sustainability dates from centuries ago, although the understanding of sustainable forest management (SFM) as an instrument that harmonizes ecological and socio-economic concerns is relatively new. The change in perspective occurred at the beginning of the 1990s in response to an increased awareness of the deterioration of the environment, in particular of the alarming loss of forest resources. The main and most striking cause of this deterioration is the deforestation occurring in some areas of the world.

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  • These research teams study for example the impact and mechanisms of greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric pollutant on climate, ozone depletion and carbon sinks (oceans and inland waters, forests and soil). They do research to understand the mechanisms and assess the impact of global change on the water cycle, water quality and availability, as well as soil functions and quality to provide the bases for management tools for sustainable water systems. Biodiversity and ecosystems are analysed to understand and minimise the negative impacts of human activities.

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