Human activities impact the environment and modify the cycles of important elements such as carbon and nitrogen from local to global scales. In order to maintain long-term and sustainable use of the world's natural resources it is important that we understand how and why ecosystems respond to such changes. This book explains the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, using examples ranging from the Arctic to the tropics to demonstrate how they react under differing conditions. This knowledge is developed into a set of principles that can be used as starting points for analysing questions about ecosystem behaviour. Ecosystem dynamics are also considered, illustrating how ecosystems develop and change over a range of temporal and spatial scales and how they react to perturbations, whether natural or man-made. Throughout the book, descriptive studies are merged with simple mathematical models to reinforce the concepts discussed and aid the development of predictive tools.
Goeran I. Agren is a Professor of Systems Ecology and has been teaching ecosystem ecology and the use of mathematical models in ecology for more than 30 years. His research focuses on carbon and nitrogen cycles in terrestrial ecosystems and how these processes can be most efficiently expressed in mathematical terms. Folke O. Andersson is Emeritus Professor of Ecosystem Ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. He has been active in ecosystem research and teaching since the 1950s. His research includes areas such as descriptive plant ecology and applied issues such as effects of air pollution and management on forests, including field experiments with acidification, fertilisation and liming.
Preface; Prologue: environmental changes and ecosystem effects - two historical examples; Part I. History and Concepts: 1. History of ecosystem research and ecosystem knowledge; 2. Ecology, ecosystem and ecosystem science; 3. Ecosystem ecology - cornerstones and scientific methodology; Part II. Ecosystem Structure and Function: 4. Ecosystem structure - vegetation and soil; 5. Energy and water; 6. Plant production; 7. Soil organic matter processes; 8. Organisms and ecosystem processes; 9. Element cycles; 10. Principles; Part III. Ecosystem Dynamics at Different Time Scales: 11. Tectonic to orbital changes; 12. Millennial to centennial or postglacial changes; 13. Centennial to annual changes; Part IV. Applications: 14. Air pollution and forest ecosystems; 15. Global change; Epilogue: society and terrestrial ecosystem ecology; Appendices: Appendix 1. Abbreviations; Appendix 2. Glossary; Appendix 3. Some useful values and symbols used to represent them; Appendix 4. Data on selected ecosystems; Index.