Ecologists, although they acknowledge the problems involved, generally conduct their research on too few species, in too small an area, over too short a period of time. In "The Balance of Nature?, " a work sure to stir controversy, the distinguished theoretical ecologist Stuart L. Pimm argues that ecology therefore fails in many ways to address the enormous ecological problems now facing our planet.
Ecologists describing phenomena on larger scales often use terms like "stability," "balance of nature," and "fragility," and Pimm begins by considering the various specific meanings of these terms. He addresses five kinds of ecological stability--stability in the strict sense, resilience, variability, persistence, and resistance--and shows how they provide ways of comparing natural populations and communities as well as theories about them. Each type of stability depends on characteristics of the species studied and also on the structure of the food web in which the species is embedded and the physical features of the environment.
"The Balance of Nature?" provides theoretical ecology with a rich array of questions--questions that also underpin pressing problems in practical conservation biology. Pimm calls for nothing less than new approaches to ecology and a new alliance between theoretical and empirical studies.
|Why ""The Balance of Nature""?|
|What Ecology Is About and What Ecologists Study|
|The Problems of Scaling Up What Is the ""Balance of Nature""?|
|Beginnings: Elton and MacArthur|
|The Last of the Old Meetings|
|A Theoretical Basis Heresies Are Theoretical and Empirical Studies Incompatible?|
|How This Book Is Organized|
|Resilience What Is It and How Do We Measure It?|
|Resilience and the Life-History Characteristics of Individual Species Food-Web Effects on Resilience Ecosystem Effects on Resilience Summary an|
|Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 464
Published: 1st January 1991
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.5 x 15.0 x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.71