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This book provides an entirely fresh view of the origins of organization in living systems. Ulanowicz mounts a powerful challenge to prevailing mechanistic paradigms of ecology. Instead, he offers a concise introduction to theoretical perspectives better able to explain the structure, growth, development, and decline of ecosystems - from a leaf of aquatic grass to an entire tropical forest. Ecology, Ulanowicz argues, needs a more robust central paradigm, and this book presents one derived from current work in complexity, information theory, and ecosystem energetics; the result is a theoretical and empirical tool kit better able to measure the developmental status of any living community.