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Applying Thermodynamic Orientors: Goal Functions in the Holling Figure-Eight Model

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Abstract

The Holling figure-eight model is proposed as a description of ecosystem dynamics that can incorporate the complex behavior that is germane to realistic biological systems. The figure-eight includes the two phases of exploitation and conservation as well as destructive events, such as fire, and system reorganization following such an event. The Holling figure-eight is underlain by two goal functions: the maximization of exergy consumption, the maximization of exergy storage and the emergence of a self-organized critical state at the conservation state.

Exergy is defined as the quality of energy or the amount of work that can be done with a particular input of energy. Self-organized critical systems are sensitive to small changes that can cause rapid changes in the system. They are characterized by a log-linear relationship between the magnitude and the frequency of a particular event. The conservation phase of the Holling figure-eight is characterized as a balance between the attractor of exergy maximization and thermodynamic equilibrium. It is argued that this be explained with reference to the self-organized critical state between species abundance and the community mass respiration rates.

Recent analysis of the eigenvalues of ecological models suggests that even though a system may appear to be resistant to a particular perturbation, if it is in the basin of attraction of a semi-stable attractor, it will eventually respond but at a much later point in time. This provides further insight into management decisions that interfere with the Holling figure-eight at the conservation phase. The explanations of each goal function and semi-stability are followed by some discussion on the relevant management implications.

Keywords

  • Dissipative Structure
  • Ecosystem Dynamic
  • Goal Function
  • Creative Destruction
  • Pest Outbreak

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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© 1998 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Bass, B. (1998). Applying Thermodynamic Orientors: Goal Functions in the Holling Figure-Eight Model. In: Müller, F., Leupelt, M. (eds) Eco Targets, Goal Functions, and Orientors. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-58769-6_12

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-58769-6_12

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-642-63720-9

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