Mutualistic biodiversity networks
KEYWORDS: biodiversity, ecosystem function, mutualism, species loss, redundancy,
keystone, rivet hypothesis, biosphere, Gaia Theory, permaculture; sustainability
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The following technical dissertation deals with the interactions between different organisms in ecosystems - from the smallest area to the entire planet. It is found that long-term stability in ecosystems comes only with high biodiversity, and when the diverse species set up mutually beneficial links between each other.
All of these "co-operative" links establish a network between species that does not end at the small-scale ecosystem. The network effectively encompasses all organisms over the globe, such that each has some small influence on the rest. Nothing is redundant.
Though some organisms and species could be lost without an immediately noticeable effect (e.g. through deforestation), the effect will nonetheless be present and could become more important if environmental conditions (e.g. global temperature) change.
The dissertation also discusses the potential benefits of modelling man-made systems upon the co-operative networks found in Nature. For example, when an agricultural system is changed from monoculture (where a large area of land is used for only one type of crop) to permaculture, its stability, efficiency and sustainability would greatly improve.
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The dissertation may be freely distributed and reproduced in its original form, provided that its author is stated as such.
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