A systems theory of environment formulates causal interactions between things, including organisms, and their environments in terms of four system theoretical abstract objects. Creaons receive stimuli and implicitly create input environments. Genons react to received causes and generate potential output environments as effects. A holon represents the combined input-output model of an entity consisting of a creaon and a genon. An environ is a creaon and its corresponding input environment, or a genon and its related output environment. The theory is presented in terms of three propositions that: (1) recognize two distinct environments (input and output) associated with things, (2) establish things and their environments as units (environs) to be taken together, and (3) partition systems into input and output environs associated with intrasystem creaons and genons, respectively.
We need to manage and to use our renewable resources more wisely and yet more intensively in the future. To do this we need to incorporate more of our experience, our data, and our theory into the decision-making process. We can use simulation models in this synthesis effort to advantage. We can perform management experiments with ecosystem level models, generate meaningful output from those experiments, and condense and interpret this output in a manner useful to the management agency personnel. The result will be better resource management decisions based on scientifically and technically defendable information which will have greater internal consistency and which will produce better results under many conditions.
A general but comprehensive environmental analysis of the environmental resources of a large region may be conducted utilizing an analysis/index matrix and maps of the analyzed resources. This methodology, previously applied to the 10,976 square mile Central Ohio Water Development Region, incorporates ecologically sound data in a format intelligible to decision makers. Resource maps of the region were completed with features rated, where possible, according to relative significance. Two gridded, summary, composite maps, one for natural components and one for human components, were then compiled. Each grid cell on the natural composite map indexes the significant features in that cell and the land use analog of the ecological serai stage (one of four categories) predominant in that cell. The analog is a comprehensive indicator of the relative degree of natural ecological integrity in the cell. Each grid cell on the human composite map indexes the significant features in that cell and the fair market land value category (one of four categories) predominant in the cell. The land value category is a comprehensive indicator of the human value attributed to that area. The two values for each grid cell on both composite maps are inserted into an analysis/index matrix to yield one of three final analysis/index values. These values, one from a natural perspective and one from a human perspective, indicate areas of overall, relative environmental importance. The natural and the human composite maps may be combined to indicate the areas of potential conflict and tradeoff between these two value systems.
A framework is presented for defining the environmental impact of a project on an ecosystem. The difficulties in assessing impacts at the ecosystem level are illustrated with examples drawn from theoretical considerations and nutrient cycling studies. The need for rigorous, quantitative analysis of ecosystem deviations from homeostasis and the subsequent implications of this deviation over long periods of time is illustrated and discussed in terms of individual and societal value judgments.