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A Generic Ecosystem Model for Developing Ecosystem Engineering Theory
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.orgCitation: Paper number 047024, 2004 ASAE Annual Meeting . @2004
Authors: Tania R Lanphere, Robert Kok
Keywords: Computer simulation, ecology, ecological engineering, ecological modeling, ecosystems, engineering theory, environment
Ecosystem engineering goals include remediation, augmentation, and management of existing systems, as well as the design and construction of entirely new systems. Currently, however, attaining these goals is hampered by the lack of a comprehensive theoretical basis for the engineering of complex systems. We aim to address this problem, first by developing 'forward', empirical knowledge for complex systems about the relationships between system composition and structure, and consequent system comportment in response to given forcing functions. This knowledge is being developed as a case-base of results from simulations based on ecosystem models of various degrees of complexity. Presented here is the initial model, together with some preliminary results. The model is generic and is not meant to represent any specific ecosystem. Rather, it allows for the study of the effects of changing parameter values and model conditions on the comportment of the system. The model also makes it possible to observe the emergence of complex interactions and comportment in even relatively simple systems. The 'forward' knowledge will be used for 'forward reasoning' in a question and answer manner, as well as for generating ‘backward', engineering-type knowledge. Further analysis of both types of knowledge will hopefully lead to a theoretical basis for engineering complex systems of the ecosystem type.