The template: patterns and processes of spatial variation
Contribution to Book
Ecosystem Function in Heterogeneous Landscapes
G.M. Lovett; C.G. Jones; M.G. Turner; K.C. Weathers
The ecosystem concept has been a powerful tool in ecology, as it allows the use of the quantitative and rigorous laws of conservation of mass and energy in the analysis of entire ecological systems.These laws require delimiting an ecosystem by specifying its boundaries; however, we know that these boundaries are porous and that all ecosystems are open systems that exchange matter, energy, information, and organisms with their surroundings. This openness means that ecosystems defined as spatially separate are in fact interconnected parts of a larger landscape. Once we begin to ask about the source of the inputs or the fate of the outputs, we need to consider the ecosystem in its landscape context.
White, E.P., and J.H. Brown. 2005. The template: patterns and processes of spatial variation. Pages 3147 in G.M. Lovett, C.G. Jones, M.G. Turner and K.C. Weathers, editors. Ecosystem Function in Heterogeneous Landscapes. Springer, New York.