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Mikhail I. Budyko: double-edged ecological ties.

The founder of modern climatology and an internationally famous ecologist, Mikhail I. Budyko has taken an interest, like Hutchinson, in the large cycles of energy and nutrients that link ecosystems together. In this text, he suggests that the cohesion of the biosphere--a factor resulting from the existence of these cycles--influences the fragility of planetary balances.

"An overwhelming proportion of ecological research is devoted to local problems, that is to say, studying the interaction between organisms and their environment within regional ecosystems. The global problems of ecology dealing with the biosphere as a whole or important parts of it have been analyzed by only a relatively small number of specialists.

In the last few years it has been shown that human economic activities are influencing far-reaching natural processes, something that has led to growing interest in global ecological problems. Though the natural conditions on a large part of the planet have been changing for a long time as a result of anthropogenic influences, until recently these changes did not really represent more than a sum of local modifications, which gradually spread to immense areas as a consequence of the spread of the sphere of human economic activity. Thus, for example, the destruction of the forests on one continent did not influence the status of the forests of the other continents, building dams along one river did not affect the volume of flow of the other unrelated rivers, etc.

But the situation became totally different when human beings started to act on global natural processes. In this case, the action exerted on the environment in one region may modify the natural conditions in other far distant regions."

Global'naja ekologija (Global Ecology, 1977). Reproduced from "Ecologie Globale", published by Ed. du Progres, Moscow (1980)

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Publication:Encyclopedia of the Biosphere
Article Type:Excerpt
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2000
Words:291
Previous Article:George E. Hutchinson: the biosphere is not indestructible.
Next Article:James E. Lovelock and Lynn Margulis: is Gaia a living thing?
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