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Introduction to Environmental Engineering by Alandra Kahl

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Chapter 3

Ecosystem Concepts

3.1 Introduction

The simplest ecosystem is subject to cyclic processes that govern its resources. These processes are fundamental to the persistence and maintenance of a healthy environment. There are four fundamental processes that work together in an ecosystem—these are the water cycle, nutrient cycle, energy flow, and community dynamics. These processes are interdependent; if one changes, so must the others to maintain ecosystem balance. To have an effective water or mineral cycle, or adequate energy flow, an ecosystem must have communities of living organisms. For living things to thrive, they need effective energy flow to feed them, a water cycle that supplies adequate moisture, and a mineral cycle that supplies ...

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