Nov 01 2010
Intro to Environmental Systems and Ecosystem Ecology
Most of our prior studies have been focused on the components that make up our world, but, in reality, the world isn’t made up of individual components, but rather of one complex whole. While categories are useful to understand subject matter, the planet operates as a complex network of interlinked systems. This is the reason why solving environmental problems can be so difficult as one must consider all system factors and behaviors. A system is defined by its inputs and outputs (the factors) and by its feedback loops (the behaviors). Feedback loops can be positive (bad) or negative (good) [confusing right?]. Negative feedback loops are good because they enhance stability in a system, they self-regulate, and the outputs limit the inputs. Positive feedback loops are bad because they destabilize systems, self-accelerate, and their outputs can drive inputs (or become the inputs themselves).
<– Positive feedback loop
<– Negative feedback loop
As far as an introduction to this material, I think that this is a good start. Until I draw the short straw again,
P.S. That was supposed to be a joke… don’t hurt me.