Case Studies: Soil as the Interface of the Ecosystem Goal Function and the Earth System Goal Function

  • Steven Cousins
  • Mark Rounsevell
Conference paper


Ecosystem boundaries are chosen such that a domain is defined where a single ecosystem goal operates as the system attractor. Other goals may still operate on this area because the ecosystem contains semi-autonomous parts which are the organisms in a food web. It is possible for parts to have separate goals when the parts are separated from the whole by buffers or stores. The directed movement of water is defined here as the earth system goal. Ecosystems as goal directed objects are defined as the abundance of different sized organisms on the territory of the top predators. Fat decouples organisms from the ecosystem food web; the ecosystem food web is decoupled from climate by water storage in soil. Because the ecosystem is decoupled from its parts it can possess a goal; goal function equations for ecosystems and for water transfer in soil are given.


Hydraulic Conductivity System Boundary Goal Function System Goal Single Goal 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Cousins
  • Mark Rounsevell

There are no affiliations available

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