Forest Ecosystems: Their Maintenance, Amelioration, and Deterioration
Author: Lutz, H. J.
Source: Journal of Forestry, Volume 61, Number 8, 1 August 1963 , pp. 563-569(7)
Publisher: Society of American Foresters
Abstract:Complex ecosystems tend toward a condition of dynamic equilibrium in which violent fluctuations in the physical environment and in the plant and animal components are less likely than in simple ecosystems. Actually, in nature, equilibrium is never completely attained because the environment is never entirely stable nor are the living components of the system ever static. The possibility of amelioration of ecosystems so they may better serve the objectives of man is generally recognized. However, when drastic changes are introduced, either in the abiotic or biotic components, the ecosystems should remain under continuing surveillance by the forester, at least until the outcome is established. Even before the appearance of man ecosystems were being upset by changes in the organisms and the environments. Disturbances resulting from the activities of the human animal are unique only in their extent and severity. It seems that the disturbances of forest ecosystems that involve the greatest potential dangers are those that are extreme and outside the evolutionary experience of the organisms involved. Examples are given of ecosystem deterioration resulting from drastic changes in the physical environment or in the population of organisms. The writer does not concur in the view that to disturb or alter in any way natural forest conditions is to court disaster. Neither does he find acceptable the view that man can alter ecosystems in any way he chooses, that he can safely ignore natural tendencies. Between these two extremes is wide opportunity for applying the basic philosophy of working in harmony with nature.
Document Type: Journal article
Publication date: 1963-08-01
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