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Ecology, the Ascendent Perspective Robert E. Ulanowicz cover
  • ISBN: 9780231108294
  • ISBN10: 023110829X

Ecology, the Ascendent Perspective Robert E. Ulanowicz

by Robert E. Ulanowicz

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 09/01/1997
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This book provides an entirely fresh view of the origins of organization in living systems. Writing for theoretical ecologists, biologists, and philosophers of science, 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 the structure, growth, development, and decline of ecosystems -- from a leaf of aquatic grass to an entire tropical forest.

Ranging widely to explore critical issues in the history of science -- order, causality, progress, laws -- Ulanowicz sets forth a coherent theoretical framework for ecology. He demonstrates that mechanical models can capture behavior of relatively simple, isolated populations, but fail to explain the rich, complex, and sometimes unpredictable mix of order and disorder that characterizes larger systems.

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.

A challenge to existing Newtonian and Darwinian paradigms, Ecology, the Ascendent Perspective suggests ways to bring ecology from the fringes to the center of science. It also demonstrates that a theoretically reshaped science of ecology, by more accurately portraying the dynamics of the natural world, can be a more effective means of ensuring its health.

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