The late Neogene (the period between − 14 and − 2.4 Ma) is one of the most
interesting phases in understand the present conWguration of terrestrial
ecosystems. It was during this time that the change took place from the
middle Miocene dominant subtropical forests that stretched across southern
Europe and western Asia to a more open but still wooded biotope that
now prevails in warm–temperate areas. This change in vegetation, which
strongly aVected the composition of mammalian faunas, seems to be linked
to the rapid spread of grasses around 8–10 Ma ago....
Dualism is a dominant theory of life that considers
reality to be a balance between two independent and
fundamental principles: good and evil, mind and
matter, nature and nurture. In the same manner we
see the thread of dualism run through the ecology of
parasitism: they can generate diversity but cause
extinction, they may castrate a host but increase its
growth rate, and they can stimulate an immune
response but at the same time encourage a secondary
The growth of Aquaculture and its future role as a food supplier to human society
has environmental, social and economic limitations, affecting marine ecosystems
and socio-economic scales from local to global. These are close links with human
health requirements and societal needs for various goods and services provided by
marine ecosystems. This book shows this broad spectrum of dependencies of the future
growth of aquaculture and highlights both relevant problems and expectations.
Freshwater sources and oceans have an amazing natural ability to break down some
waste materials, but not in the quantities discarded by today' s society. The overload that
results eventually puts the ecosystem out of balance.
Sometimes nature itself can create these imbalances. But most often our waterways are
being polluted by municipal, agricultural and industrial wastes, including many toxic
synthetic chemicals which cannot be broken down at all by natural processes.
Since the first production of tools at the beginning of human presence on Earth, human evolution is
linked to the invention of new tools, usually combined with new environmental adaptations.
The symbiosis of man with tools and environments represents one of the main factors in human
evolutionary processes. It is evident how this coupling is based on the biophysics of our bodies and the
development of the social memory system called culture.
The foundation of human health rests on healthy, stable ecosystems. Our biotic
environment provides us with the fundamentals necessary for healthy lives—food,
water, oxygen, warmth, light, and fuel. Earth's ecosystems also supply the raw
materials for our health-care services. The global fraying of ecosystems has grave
implications for our health and our ability to treat illnesses, now and in the future.
Soil is a biogeochemically dynamic natural resource that supports all
critical components that comprise terrestrial ecosystems. It has been
called Earth’s living skin. On its June 11, 2004, cover, Science declared soils
to be “the final frontier.” The growing awareness that soil provides a variety
of ecosystem services beyond food production has attracted interest in soil
from nonsoil scientists.
The consideration of an ecosystem approach recognizes the important link between fish
community structure and its habitat has been further emphasized in the Strategic Vision
Great Lakes Fishery Commission first decade of the new millennium (GLFC 2001).
Therefore, one of the research challenges on sustainability
resides in the link between the form of functioning of the ecosystems towards the structures
and the functionality of the associated social system. This iswhy the information theory based
indicators can grasp the human nature and the elements of the system and make sense.
A decision support system (DSS) will be developed, using the results of the MRB model system and other
existing watershed DSSs to enable decision-making about investments in watershed management, aquatic
ecosystem restoration, water quality, water quantity, and groundwater management measures in the MRB.
The DSS will be explicitly designed to meet sponsor needs. The DSS will be linked to the Basin GIS to
enable visualization of the spatial arrangement of management measures.
31 Descriptive Approaches for Assessing Ecosystem
Responses to Contaminants
Now that we have an appreciation of the important processes that characterize ecosystems and the general approaches used to quantify these processes, we will turn our attention to the primary objective of this section. As with community-level assessments, ecotoxicologists interested in ecosystem responses to anthropogenic stressors employ descriptive, quasi-experimental, and experimental approaches.
The ARIES methodology is based on
explicit conceptualizations (ontologies:
Villa, Athanasiadis et al. 2009) that lay
out first of all a novel vision of ES,
based on the breakdown into individual
benefits, each of which is modeled
independently, then linked to the others.
Domain ontologies in ARIES result
from a large-scale expert consensus.
Artificial intelligence techniques
(machine reasoning, pattern recognition)
examine source data and extract from
the ontologies models that best represent
the situation at hand.
Critical loads, and other approaches that use models or empirical observations to link deposition with effects, provide tools that enable
resource managers and policymakers to evaluate tradeoffs between the costs of more stringent emissions controls and the benefits of
ecosystem services provided by healthy ecosystems.
A critical loads approach can be used to synthesize scientific knowledge about air pollution thresholds that cause adverse impacts
or ecosystem change.
Yet recent authors have noted that the MA ecosystem services classification does not lend itself well to economic decision-making (Hein and van Ierland 2006; Boyd and Banzhaf 2007; Wallace 2007). This is because the MA categories do not explicitly link specific benefits to specific human beneficiaries of ecosystem services.
By explicitly demonstrating spatial links from ecosystems to people and the strength of the flow of ecosystem services, we can better demonstrate how people gain value from ecosystem services. Beyond demonstrating the value of ecosystem services to individuals, improved maps of provision, use, and benefit flows can help guide various policy applications for ecosystem services. This can lead to both fuller appreciation of value by the groups that benefit most from nature’s services, and a better body of knowledge to enable sound decision making by society....
Understanding the flow pattern of benefits from ecosystems to people is a problem that has eluded past work in ecosystem services. For many authors, the flow problem has been expressed as a “spatial mismatch” between ecosystem service provision and use (Hein et al. 2006, Costanza 2008). By explicitly demonstrating spatial links from ecosystems to people and the strength of the flow of ecosystem services, we can better demonstrate how specific beneficiary groups gain value from ecosystem services.
Stresses on the climate system are already causing impacts on Earth’s surface.
These include not only rising surface temperatures, but also increasingly frequent
ﬂoods and droughts, and changes in natural ecosystems, such as earlier ﬂower-
ing of plants, and poleward shifts in the distribution of several species. All of
these changes are inextricably linked to the health of human societies.