chapter  1
8 Pages

ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION AND MANAGEMENT

An ecosystem can be described as some unit of the biosphere, or the entire biosphere itself, within which chemical substances are cycled and recycled while the energy transported as part of those substances continually passes through the system. Although every ecosystem must ultimately obey the laws of thermodynamics and degrade to complete randomness (wind down), consistent with the universe, energy may be accumulated momentarily in an ecosystem. However, without a continuously renewed input of energy, the accumulation would be exhausted and the system would ultimately wind down.