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Hierarchy : perspectives for ecological complexity

Author: T F H Allen; Thomas B Starr
Publisher: Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 2017. ©2017
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : Second editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Ecosystems are incredibly complex, non-linear structures and self-organized entities; they cannot be described by simple models or by statistical approaches. Within each ecosystem are scores of individuals interacting continuously with others and with their biotic and abiotic surroundings, over vast geographic spaces, and over varying time scales as well. To approach the enormity of this complexity, ecologists have  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: T F H Allen; Thomas B Starr
ISBN: 9780226489544 022648954X 9780226489681 022648968X
OCLC Number: 967919711
Description: 417 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents: Introduction --
A theory for medium number systems --
Hierarchies --
The Janus-faced holon --
Scales and filters --
Sirens of certainty --
Origins of life as a complex medium number system --
A wrinkle in time: evolution by preadaptation --
Functional and structural boundaries --
The self-replicating hierarchy --
Scaling strategies --
Scale and complex systems --
Identifying the scale in community ecology --
Hierarchy as a context for modeling and simulation --
Diversity and connectedness --
Scale as an investigative tool.
Responsibility: T. F. H. Allen and Thomas B. Starr.

Abstract:

"Ecosystems are incredibly complex, non-linear structures and self-organized entities; they cannot be described by simple models or by statistical approaches. Within each ecosystem are scores of individuals interacting continuously with others and with their biotic and abiotic surroundings, over vast geographic spaces, and over varying time scales as well. To approach the enormity of this complexity, ecologists have developed tools to simplify and aggregate information, and among them is Hierarchy Theory. Instead of analyzing the whole structure to understand the functions of the system, Hierarchy Theory analyzes hierarchical levels only and the interactions between them. It draws upon two different paradigms of complexity, reductionism and holism, adapting the most useful features of each into a viable means of studying ecosystems. It reduces the amount of data the researcher has to deal with, and it explicitly considers the relevant entities and interconnections of a larger complex system according to a specific research question. Originally published in 1982, Hierarchy was the first book to apply the tool to ecological systems. In the three decades since its publication, the work has influenced myriad large scale research initiatives in ecology, and this new, thoroughly revised edition reflects the assimilation of the theory in ecological research, and its successful application to the understanding of complex systems. "--Provided by publisher.

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"Allen and Starr focus on the elementary, but often disregarded, fact that ecological systems cannot avoid considerations as hierarchies. This analysis is fascinating stuff and deserves the Read more...

 
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