What do human economies, large islands and forest fragments reveal about the factors limiting ecosystem evolution?

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2009
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Leigh, Egbert Giles
Vermeij, G. J.
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What factors limit ecosystem evolution? Like human economies, ecosystems are arenas where agents compete for locally limiting resources. Like economies, but unlike genes, ecosystems are not units of selection. In both economies and ecosystems, productivity, diversity of occupations or species and intensity of competition presuppose interdependence among many different agents. In both, competitive dominants need abundant, varied resources, and many agents' products or services, to support the activity and responsiveness needed to maintain dominance. Comparing different-sized land masses suggests that productivity is lower on islands whose area is too small to maintain some of the interdependences that maintain diversity, productivity and competitiveness in mainland ecosystems. Islands lacking the rare, metabolically active dominants that make competition so intense in mainland ecosystems are more easily invaded by introduced exotics. Studies of islets in reservoirs identify mechanisms generating these phenomena. These phenomena suggest how continued fragmentation will affect future 'natural' ecosystems.

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570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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diversity, fragmentation, intensity of competition, intensity of herbivory, interdependence, islands, productivity
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ISO 690LEIGH, Egbert Giles, G. J. VERMEIJ, Martin WIKELSKI, 2009. What do human economies, large islands and forest fragments reveal about the factors limiting ecosystem evolution?. In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 2009, 22(1), pp. 1-12. ISSN 1010-061X. eISSN 1420-9101. Available under: doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01624.x
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@article{Leigh2009human-1228,
  year={2009},
  doi={10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01624.x},
  title={What do human economies, large islands and forest fragments reveal about the factors limiting ecosystem evolution?},
  number={1},
  volume={22},
  issn={1010-061X},
  journal={Journal of Evolutionary Biology},
  pages={1--12},
  author={Leigh, Egbert Giles and Vermeij, G. J. and Wikelski, Martin}
}
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