Small parts – separate and nimble

What a day today has been for finding new threads and resources. Over at the great ‘Great Change’ blog is this very interesting overview of Ecosystem Modelling.

An ecosystem is no more nor less than the sum of individual responses of diverse cooperating or competing organisms to stimuli from events in their environment. Diversity is a sign that there is a high number of stimuli and that the system has become dynamic in response. A great many small parts, making separate and nimble adjustments, solve problems better than a few large parts responding ponderously.

I had thought about many small parts delivering ‘more than the sum of their parts’ but this concept of the separate, nimble and presumably local adjustments makes sense both ecologically and as a metaphor for knowledge sharing in organisations.

The five carrying capacity scenarios then make really interesting reading ending in the scary but all too familiar catabolic collapse model.

An ecosystem is the result of the sum of individual responses to catastrophe, or any stimuli that forces a change upon the status quo. Biological diversity, indicative of a high level of stimuli, provides insurance for the system.

Global extinction of an entire species is very rare but local extinction and replacements are common. Ecosystems clean house, recruit, re-diversify and recharge.

Having read the article through a few times and now knowing the antidote I am off to realign our chimney so that I know when to plant the potatoes [see previous posting].

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