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Biological Equilibrium in Ecosystems 1. A Theory of Biological Equilibrium

J. Looman
Folia Geobotanica & Phytotaxonomica
Vol. 11, No. 1 (1976), pp. 1-21
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4179905
Page Count: 21
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Biological Equilibrium in Ecosystems 1. A Theory of Biological Equilibrium
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Abstract

In this paper the process of establishing equilibrium in ecosystems is explored, and compared to the process of transformation. This process changes the state of organisms from absent to present, and the reverse, and if functioning randomly on very large numbers of individuals, results in biological equilibrium which can be expressed by the ratio (e - x): 1, with x = 1 at Natural Biological Equilibrium (NBE). A model of ecosystems shows that four basic factors are operative in ecosystems: the constraint, or habitat-type; the regulator, or carrying capacity of the substrate; the input, or organisms; and the operator, death. The Theory of Biological Equilibrium (TBE) proposed, postulates that Natural Biological Equilibrium is reached when the individuals in an ecosystem are in dynamic balance with the carrying capacity of the substrate of the ecosystem. The TBE provides the theoretical basis for the Canonical Hypothesis, which postulates that the parameters in eco- systems are fixed, and can be computed from the number of species in the system. The TBE is in agreement with many well-known ecological phenomena, provides the basis for several hypotheses, and forces the rejection of some traditional hypotheses, viz., the hypothesis of competition as a factor in ecosystems.

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