The diversity of nature's flora and fauna is staggering, and it is human nature to wonder how to explain the diversity, adaptability and beauty of the world that surrounds us. How can we explain the interactions between matter and energy that lead to the abiotic and biotic web of life on earth? These questions demand increasingly accurate answers as environmental managers endeavor to meet steeper sustainability benchmarks set by political agendas. This book presents an overview of the systems-based, thermodynamic properties that underpin this natural growth and development, and explains the underlying ecosystem properties that can explain the environment's response to natural perturbations and human interventions.
Søren Nors Nielsen, Master of Biology from the University of Copenhagen, PhD in the structural dynamics of Danish shallow lakes from Risø National Laboratory and National Environmental Research Institute, Dr. agregado in Ecology, University of Coimbra. He has been teaching in more than 60 courses in systems analysis, environmental modelling and management, ecosystem theory, cleaner production, industrial ecology, at various universities in Denmark and many other countries. He has since 1989 been working with ecosystem evolution and development mainly from a thermodynamic view, expanding the approach to society. He is associate professor of technoanthropology, and sustainable biotechnology, University of Aalborg in Copenhagen.
Brian D. Fath is Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Towson University (Maryland, USA) and Senior Research Scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Laxenburg, Austria). He has published over 180 research papers, reports, and book chapters on environmental systems modeling, specifically in the areas of network analysis, resilience, and sustainability. He co-authored the books Foundations for Sustainability: A Coherent Framework of Life–Environment Relations (2018) and Flourishing Within Limits to Growth: Following Nature’s Way (2015). He is also Editor-in-Chief for the journal Ecological Modelling. Dr. Fath was the 2016 recipient of the Prigogine Medal for outstanding work in systems ecology, and held a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at Parthenope University (Naples, Italy) in 2012.
Simone Bastianoni is a Full Professor of Environmental and Cultural Heritage Chemistry at the University of Siena, is Chair of the PhD School in Environmental, Geological and Polar Sciences. He is President of the Emergy Society; Member of the Standard Committee of the Global Footprint Network; Specialty Chief Editor of the journal Frontiers in Energy Systems and Policy and Editor of the section Human Ecology and Sustainability of the Encyclopedia of Ecology. He leads the Sustainable Development Solutions Network team at the University of Siena and the sustainability indicators team for the PRIMA Programme.
Born in 1957 (Lisbon, Portugal), João Marques has a PhD in Ecology (University of Coimbra, Portugal) in 1989. As a marine and estuarine ecologist, he has worked on biological and ecological processes, systems ecology, and ecological modelling. He coordinated 24 large research projects, both funded by Portuguese Agencies and European Union Programs, playing a key role in creating new research infrastructures at Portuguese national level. Thus far, he has authored or co-authored approximately 300 scientific papers in international refereed journals, 6 books, and 17 book chapters (international editions), having supervised the research work of 51 MSc and 32 PhD students, and 17 Post-Doc Researchers, in Portugal and abroad (Europe and South America). He is Editor-in-Chief of the Ecological Indicators Journal – Elsevier since 2016. In 2017 he was laureate Prigogine Gold Medal for his work in the field of Systems Ecology.
Felix Müller has studied Biology and Geography. His PhD thesis about soil-geographical investigations on the fate of pesticides in ecosystems was published in 1987. FM was coordinator of the long-term project “Ecosystem Research in the Bornhöved Lakes District” and has worked in more than 25 research projects. Since 2010 FM has been affiliated as leader of the Department Ecosystem Management at the Institute for Natural Resource Conservation of Kiel University. The main recent research interests are ecosystem analysis, modelling, ecosystem services, ecosystem theories, and indicator applications at the landscape scale. Müller has been editor of more than 20 books and has published more than 130 scientific papers. He was editor-in-chief of the journal Ecological Indicators and board member of several journals. He was the president of the German chapter of the International Association of Landscape Ecology and Secretary of the German Chapter of the International Long-Term-Ecological Research Program.
Bernard C. Patten is Emeritus Regents' Professor of Ecology at the University of Georgia, USA. He is a systems ecologist and ecological modeller, interested in the application of mathematical system theory to ecosystems. He and his colleagues have formulated an environmental system theory, environ theory and analysis, that pioneers the application of network mathematics to ecological networks such as food webs and biogeochemical cycles. He has been a distinguished visiting professor, and has lectured and conducted short courses nationally and internationally. His research publications include 215 papers and nine books on topics spanning marine, freshwater and wetland ecosystems. His edited works include the four-volume series Systems Analysis and Simulation in Ecology (1972-76, Academic Press), two volumes on Wetlands and Shallow Continental Water Bodies (1990, 1994; SPB Academic), and Complex Ecology: The Part–Whole Relation in Ecosystems (1995, Prentice Hall). A multivolume monograph, Holoecology: The Unification of Nature by Network Indirect Effects, is currently in preparation.