Integrating Ecosystem Theories – Gradients and Orientors as Outcomes of Self-Organized Processes

Integrating Ecosystem Theories – Gradients and Orientors as Outcomes of Self-Organized Processes

Felix Müller Franziska Kroll 

Institute for the Conservation of Natural Resources, Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Germany

Page: 
318-341
|
DOI: 
https://doi.org/10.2495/DNE-V6-N4-318-341
Received: 
N/A
|
Accepted: 
N/A
|
Published: 
30 November 2011
| Citation

OPEN ACCESS

Abstract: 

This paper discusses the ecological gradient principle and shows interrelations of this concept with several approaches of ecosystem analysis and theory. After a general description of ecosystem self-organization, ecological gradients are introduced as emergent ecosystem properties, their characteristics are explained, and different gradient types are distinguished. On this basis, the gradient principle is related to some other theoretical approaches of ecosystem comprehension: hierarchy theory, network theory, and thermodynamics. Thereafter, while observing ecosystem development, gradients are related to orientor theory, and the roles of disturbances are discussed. Few outcomes of the gradient principle for environmental management are listed, reaching from indicator derivation, integrity utilization to ecosystem service-based valuations. Finally, Bossel’s basic orientor concept is used to show a gradient-related linkage between environmental and human systems.

Keywords: 

 ecosystem theories, ecosystem gradients, self-organization, ecological orientors, ecological integrity, ecosystem services.

  References

[1] Tiezzi, E., Steps Towards an Evolutionary Physics, WIT Press: Southampton, 2006.

[2] Kroll, F. & Müller, F., Can the principle of gradients be applied for human systems? A case study on rural-urban interactions. International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics, 6(4), (in press).

[3] Prigogine, I., Order through fl uctuations: self organization and social system. Evolution and Consciousness: Human Systems in Transition, eds E. Jantsch & C.H. Waddington, AddisonWesley: Reading, MA, pp. 94–108, 1976.

[4] Prigogine, I., From Being to Becoming, Freeman: San Francisco, 1980.

[5] Joergensen, S.E., Integration of Ecosystem Theories: A Pattern, Dortrecht: Kluwer, 1992.

[6] Nicolis, G. & Prigogine, I., Self-organization in non-equilibrium systems: from storage in plants. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Systems, 21, pp. 423–447, 1977.

[7] Nicolis, G. & Prigogine, I., Exploring Complexity: An Introduction, W.H. Freeman and Co: New York, 1989.

[8] Prigogine, I. & Stengers, I., Order Out of Chaos, Flamingo: London, 1984.

[9] Haken, H., Synergetics, an Introduction, Springer: Berlin, 1983.

[10] Schneider, E.D. & Kay, J., Life as a manifestation of the second law of thermodynamics. Math. 

Comput. Modelling, 19, pp. 25–48, 1994. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0895-7177(94)90188-0 [11] Tiezzi, E., The End of Time, WIT Press: Southampton, 2002.

[12] Touring, A.M., The chemical basis of morphogenesis. Phil. Trans. R: Soc London B, 327, pp. 37–52, 1952. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.1952.0012

[13] Rosen, D., Kim, J.H. & Nam, Y., Birds of a Feather protest together: theorizing self-organizing political protests with fl ock theory. Syst Pract Action Res, 23, pp. 419–441, 2010. doi:http:// dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11213-010-9167-3

[14] Eigen, M., Selforganisation of matter and the evolution of biological macromolecules. Naturwissenschaften, 58, pp. 465–523, 1971. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00623322

[15] Kauffmann, S., The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution, Oxford University Press: New York, 1993.

[16] Lovelock, J.E., Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, Oxford University Press: New York, 1979.

[17] Schneider, E. & Sagan, D., Into the Cool – Energy Flow, Thermodynamics and Life, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL, 2005.

[18] Müller, F. & Joergensen, S.E., Ecological orientors: a path to environmental applications of ecosystem theories. Handbook of Ecosystem Theories and Management, eds S.E. Joergensen & F. Müller, CRC Publishers: Boca Raton, FL, pp. 561–576, 2000.

[19] Müller, F., Breckling, B., Bredemeier, M., Grimm, V., Malchow, H., Nielsen. S.N. & Reiche, 

E. W., Ökosystemare Selbstorganisation. Handbuch der Ökosystemforschung, eds O. Fränzle, 

F. Müller & W. Schröder, Landsberg, 1997.

[20] An der Heiden, U., Selbstorganisation in dynamischen Systemen. Emergenz: Die Entstehung von Ordnung, Organisation und Bedeutung, eds W. Krohn & G. Küppers, Suhrkamp: Frankfurt, 1992. [21] Ebeling, W., Chaos – Ordnung – Information, Verlag Harri Deutsch: Frankfurt, 1989.

[22] Krohn, W. & Küppers, G., Emergenz: Die Entstehung von Ordnung, Organisation und Bedeutung, Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch: Frankfurt, 1992.

[23] Roth, G., Gehirn und Selbstorganisation. Emergenz: Die Entstehung von Ordnung, Organisation und Bedeutung, eds W. Krohn & G. Küppers, Suhrkamp: Frankfurt, 1990.

[24] Salthe, S.N., Development and Evolution: Complexity and Change in Biology, MIT Press: Cambridge, 1993.

[25] Von Förster, H., Kausalität, Unordnung, Selbstorganisation. Grundprinzipien der Selbstorganisation, eds K.W. Kratky & F.F. Wallner, Wiss. Buchges: Darmstadt, 1990.

[26] Joergensen, S.E., Fath, B., Bastianoni, S., Marquez, J., Müller, F., Nielsen, S.N., Patten, B., Tiezzi, E. & Ulanowicz, R., A New Ecology – The Systems Perspective, Elsevier Publishers: Amsterdam, 2007.

[27] Müller, F. & Nielsen, S.N., Ecosystems as subjects of self-organized processes. Handbook of Ecosystem Theories and Management, eds S.E. Joergensen & F. Müller, CRC Publishers: Boca Raton, FL, pp. 177–194, 2000.

[28] Whittaker, R.H., Evolution of species diversity in land communities. Evol. Biol, 10, pp. 1–67, 1977.

[29] Gosz, J.R., Gradient analysis of ecological change in time and space: implications for forest management. Ecological Applications, 2, pp. 248–261, 1992. doi:http://dx.doi.

org/10.2307/1941859

[30] Brown, J.H., Macroecology, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL, 1995.

[31] Fränzle, O., Die Struktur und Belastbarkeit von Ökosystemen. Tagungsberichte und wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen 41, Deutscher Geographentag: Mainz, pp. 469–485, 1978.

[32] Kay, J.J., Ecosystems as self-organised holarchic open systems: narratives and the second law of thermodynamics. Handbook of Ecosystem Theories and Management, eds. S.E. Joergensen & F. Müller, CRC Publishers: Boca Raton, FL, pp. 135–160, 2000.

[33] Müller, F., Gradients in ecological systems. Proceedings of the Eco-Summit 1996 in Copenhagen. Ecological Modelling, 108, pp. 3–21, 1998.

[34] Müller, F. & Fath, B., The physical basis of ecological goal functions. Eco Targets, Goal Functions and Orientors, eds F. Müller & M. Leupelt, Springer: Berlin, pp. 269–285, 1997.

[35] Golley, F., Ecosystem structure. Handbook of Ecosystem Theories and Management, eds S.E. Joergensen & F. Müller, CRC Publishers: Boca Raton, FL, pp. 21–32, 2000.

[36] Müller, F. & Windhorst, W., Ecosystems as functional entities. Handbook of Ecosystem Theories and Management, eds S.E. Joergensen & F. Müller, CRC Publishers: Boca Raton, FL,  pp. 33–50, 2000.

[37] Odum, H.T., Systems Ecology, Wiley: New York, 1983.

[38] Ulanowicz, R.E., Ascendency: a measure of ecosystem performance. Handbook of Ecosystem Theories and Management, eds S.E. Joergensen & F. Müller, CRC Publishers: Boca Raton, FL, pp. 303–316, 2000.

[39] Svirezhev, Y.M. & Steinborn, W., Exergy of solar radiation: thermodynamic  approach.  Ecological Modelling, 145, pp. 101–110, 2001. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S0304-3800(01)00409-4

[40] Kutsch, W., Dilly, O., Steinborn, W. & Müller, F., Quantifying ecosystem maturity – a case study. Eco Targets, Goal Functions, and Orientors, eds F. Müller & M. Leupelt, SpringerVerlag: Berlin, pp. 209–231, 1998. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-58769-6_13

[41] Müller, F., Fränzle, O. & Schimming, C., Ecological gradients as causes and effects of ecosystem organization. Ecosystem Organization of a Complex Landscape, eds O. Fränzle, L. Kappen, H.-P. Blume & K. Dierssen, Ecological Studies Vol. 202, Springer-Verlag: Berlin, pp. 277–296, 2008.

[42] Patten, B. C., Network ecology: indirect determination if the life-environment relationship in ecosystems Theoretical Studies of Ecosystems, eds M. Higashi & T.P. Burns, Cambridge  University Press: Cambridge, 1991.

[43] Ulanowicz, R.E., Growth and Development: Ecosystems Phenomenology, Berlin, 1986.

[44] O’Neill R.V., De Angelis, D.L., Waide, J.B., Allen, T.H.F., A Hierarchical Concept of Ecosystems, Monographs in Population Ecology 23, Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, 1986.

[45] Allen, T.F.H. & Starr, T. B., Hierarchy: Perspectives for Ecological Complexity, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL, 1982.

[46] Allen, T.F.H. & Hoekstra, T.W., Toward a Unifi ed Ecology, Columbia University Press: New York, 1992.

[47] Müller, F., Hierarchical approaches to ecosystem theory. Ecol. Model., 63, pp. 215–242, 1992. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-3800(92)90070-U

[48] Joergensen, S.E., The tentative fourths law of thermodynamics. Handbook of Ecosystem Theories and Management, eds S.E. Joergensen & F. Müller, CRC Publishers: Boca Raton, FL,  pp. 161–176, 2000.

[49] Fath, B. & Patten, B.C., Network orientors: a utility goal function based on network synergism. Eco Targets, Goal Functions and Orientors, eds F. Müller & M. Leupelt, Springer: Berlin, pp. 161–176, 1998.

[50] Patten, B.C., Environs: relativistic elementary particles for ecology. American Naturalist, 119, pp. 179–219, 1982. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/283903

[51] Patten, B.C., Energy, emergy, and environs. Ecological Modelling, 62, pp. 29–70, 1992. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-3800(92)90081-O

[52] Ulanowicz, R.E., Ecology, the Ascendent Perspective, Columbia University Press: New York, 201, 1997.

[53] Higashi, M. & Burns, T., Theoretical Studies of Ecosystems: The Network Perspective, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1991.

[54] Odum, E.P., The strategy of ecosystem development. Science, 164, pp. 262–270, 1969. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.164.3877.262

[55] Müller, F. & Leupelt, M., Eco Targets, Goal Functions, and Orientors, Springer-Verlag: Berlin, 1997.

[56] Fath, B. & Patten, B.C., Ecosystem theory: network environ analysis. Handbook of Ecosystem Theories and Management, eds S.E. Joergensen, F. Müller, CRC Publishers: Boca Raton, FL, pp. 345–360, 2000.

[57] Vitousek, P.M., Beyond global warming: ecology and global change. Ecology, 75, pp. 1861–1876, 1994. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1941591

[58] Di Castri, F. & Hadley, M., Enhancing the credibility in ecology: interacting along and across hierarchical scales. Geo J., 17, pp. 5–35, 1988.

[59] Picket, S.T.A. & White, P.S., The Ecology of Disturbance and Patch Dynamics, Academic Press: New York, 1985.

[60] Holling, C.S., The resilience of terrestrial ecosystems: local surprise and global change. Sustainable Development of the Biosphere, eds W.M. Clark & R.E. Munn, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, pp. 292–320, 1986.

[61] Müller, F. & Burkhard, B., Ecosystem indicators for the integrated management of landscape health and integrity. Handbook of Ecological Indicators for Assessment of Ecosystem Health, 2nd edn, eds S.E. Jorgensen, L. Xu & R. Costanza, Taylor & Francis: London, pp. 391–423, 2010.

[62] Gundersson, L.H. & Holling, C., Panarchy, Island Press: Washington, DC, 2002.

[63] Jorgensen, S.E., Xu, L., Costanza, R. (eds.), Handbook of Ecological Indicators for Assessment of Ecosystem Health, 2nd edn, Taylor & Francis: London, 2010.

[64] Burkhard, B., Müller, F. & Lill, A., Ecosystem health indicators. Encyclopedia of Ecology, eds S.E. Joergensen & B. Fath, Elsevier Publishers: Amsterdam, 2008.

[65] Müller, F., Burkhard, B. & Kroll, F., Resilience, integrity and ecosystem dynamics: bridging ecosystem theory and management. Landform – Structure, Evolution, Process Control, eds J.-C. Otto & R. Dikau, Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences Series, Vol. 115, Springer: Heidelberg, pp. 221–242, 2010.

[66] Burkhard, B. & Müller, F., Drivers-pressure-state-impact-response. Vol. [2] of Encyclopedia of Ecology, eds S.E. Jørgensen & B.D. Fath, Elsevier: Oxford, 5 vols edition, pp. 967–970, 2008.

[67] Müller, F., Indicating ecosystem and landscape organization. Ecological Indicators, 5(4), pp. 280–294, 2005. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2005.03.017

[68] Kay, J.J., Self-Organization and the Thermodynamics of Living Systems: A Paradigm, PhD Thesis, University of Waterloo, Canada 1983.

[69] Fränzle, O., Kappen, L., Blume, H.-P. & Dierssen, K. (eds), Ecosystem Organization of a Complex Landscape, Ecological Studies, Vol. 202, Springer-Verlag: Berlin, 2008.

[70] Schrautzer, J., Müller, F., Blume, H.-P., Heinrich, U., Reiche, E.W., Schleuss U. & Dierssen, K., An indicator-based characterization of the Bornhöved key ecosystems. Ecosystem Organization of a Complex Landscape, eds O. Fränzle, L. Kappen, H.-P. Blume & K. Dierssen, Ecological Studies, Vol. 202, Springer-Verlag: Berlin, pp. 297–318, 2008.

[71] Kumar, P. (eds), The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, Earthscan: London, 2010.

[72] Burkhard, B., Müller, F., Kroll, F. & Windhorst, W., Landscapes’ capacities to provide ecosystem services – a concept for land-cover based assessments. Landscape Online, Edition 15/2009.

[73] Bossel, H., Policy assessment and simulation of actor orientation for sustainable  development. 

Ecological Economics, 34, pp. 337–355, 2000. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S09218009(00)00218-4

[74] Bossel, H., Deriving indicators of sustainable development. Environmental Modeling and Assessment, 1, pp. 193–218, 1996. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01872150

[75] Bossel, H., Ecological orientors: emergence of basic orientors in evolutionary self-organization. Eco Targets, Goal Functions and Orientors, eds F. Müller & M. Leupelt, Springer: Berlin, pp. 19–33, 1998.

[76] Omann, I., Multi-criteria Decision Aid as an Approach for Sustainable Development Analysis and Implementation, Diss., University of Graz, 2004.

[77] Spangenberg, J.H., Die ökonomische Nachhaltigkeit der Wirtschaft, Edition Sigma: Berlin, 2005.

[78] Nielsen, S.N. & Müller, F., Emergent properties of ecosystems. Handbook of Ecosystem Theories and Management, eds S.E. Joergensen & F. Müller, CRC Publishers: Boca Raton, FL, pp. 195–216, 2000.

[79] Kay, J.J., 1993, “On the Nature of Ecological Integrity: Some Closing Comments” in S. Woodley, J. Kay, G. Francis (Eds.), 1993. Ecological Integrity and the Management of Ecosystems, St. Lucie Press, Delray, Florida, pp. 201–212.