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Industrial metabolism and the grand nutrient cycles

Author: Ayres, Robert U. INSEAD Area: Economics and Political Science Series: Working Paper ; 92/64/EPS Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD, 1992.Language: EnglishDescription: 24 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working PaperAbstract: This paper briefly summarizes current knowledge of the three "grand" nutrient cycles (carbon, nitrogen, sulfur) from the standpoint of balance and long-term stability. It is pointed out that all three cycles are seriously out of balance. It is also pointed out that these cycles are "dissipative systems" maintained far from thermodynamic equilibrium by biological activity driven by a continuous flow of energy from the sun. The consequences of disturbing such a complex, balanced, dissipative system are inherently almost impossible to predict a priori. However, these systems are highly non-linear, which means that response to a disturbance can be very sudden
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This paper briefly summarizes current knowledge of the three "grand" nutrient cycles (carbon, nitrogen, sulfur) from the standpoint of balance and long-term stability. It is pointed out that all three cycles are seriously out of balance. It is also pointed out that these cycles are "dissipative systems" maintained far from thermodynamic equilibrium by biological activity driven by a continuous flow of energy from the sun. The consequences of disturbing such a complex, balanced, dissipative system are inherently almost impossible to predict a priori. However, these systems are highly non-linear, which means that response to a disturbance can be very sudden

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