Developing Comprehensive Field Studies to Identify Subchronic and Chronic Effects of Chemicals on Terrestrial Ecosystems: Ecosystem Health — VI

  • Edward W. Novak
  • David J. Schaeffer
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 38)


The classical definition of an ecosystem couples interacting living organisms and non-living components of the environment to form one physical system (Tansley, 1935) and grew from the recognition that definable and describable units existed in nature. Ecosystem analysis has been advanced by an improved understanding of how ecosystems are structured and how they function. Ecology has advanced from an emphasis on natural history to consideration of energetics, the relationships and connections between species, hierarchies, and systems theory. Still, we consider ecosystems as entities with a distinctive character and individual characteristics. Measures of human or nonhuman animal health, and the clinical analysis of factors that contribute to a definition of a state of health, provide useful analogs to the problems faced by environmental managers attempting to maintain the integrity of ecosystems (Schaeffer et al., 1988). As found in human/nonhuman animal health studies, disease states of ecosystems must be recognized before disease is of clinical magnitude. This paper discusses a comprehensive, systematic approach to ecosystem analysis based on identification and quantification of factors that define the condition or state of an ecosystem in terms of health criteria.


Ecological System Ecosystem Health Reference Area Ecosystem Analysis Subchronic Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward W. Novak
    • 1
  • David J. Schaeffer
    • 2
  1. 1.USA-CERL (EN)ChampaignUSA
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary BiosciencesUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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