Professional Development Program






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Unit 1: Basic Ecological Concepts and Principles Related to Agricultural Systems

Four Basic Principles

As you work through the rest of this unit, you will be exploring four basic ecological principles: 
  1. Ecosystem characteristics are determined by place.
  2. Ecosystems are organized, integrated networks of species and populations.
  3. Ecosystem health and function are dependent upon the continuous flow and cycling of energy and nutrients.
  4. Though ecosystems are dynamic and change over time, they are inherently stable.
This is not a complete list of the principles of ecology. To cover all the principles would require an entire textbook. However, these four are key to managing agroecosystems, the focus of this course. In this section, we provide a statement of each concept in its broadest sense, followed by a brief discussion of that principle from an agroecological perspective. Throughout, look for activities and examples that further explain the concept. At the end of each principle, look for the section Take-Home Message for Agroecosystem Managers. Those pages help set the stage for the content to be covered in Unit 2.
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